Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gaming the election

It's not too soon to start building our nation's immune systems against electoral cheating. And yes, I will get around to poking at both parties.

Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have each issued a list of reform priorities that would go a long way to making voting easier. Both include universal automatic registration at the DMV (already done on California), longer early voting periods, and a renewal of the Voting Rights Act. Sanders would also make Election Day a national holiday, so people who have to work would have more time to vote.  

There’s a simple difference of philosophy and goals at work, which is that Democrats want to make it easier to vote and Republicans want to make it as difficult as possible.  The interesting thing is that they are actually… actually… able to concoct incantation rationalizations for the latter position. Cheaters do that.

See elsewhere how to tell whether a state's Voter ID law is sincere, or just a tool to rob poor people of their rights. The telltale is not the requiring of gradual increases in ID at the polls! (You dems are wrong about that.) No, it is the hypocrisy of demanding an onerous new regulation without providing what's called compliance assistance.  In every case, there's been not one penny of CA, laying bare that these are monstrous traitors and thieves.

Oh, but watch as the Trump Effect alters the styles of cheating! Already, Super Pacs lavishly funded by the Koch-Saudi axis have learned from the failure of their anti-Trump blitz that TV ad-buys have lost effectiveness, this year. 

They are shifting tsunamis of cash over to "social media consulting firms" that hire agents provocateurs to rile up passions on Facebook, Twitter etc... 

...e.g. "Sanders supporters" who - against Bernie's clearly-state wishes, stir Limbaugh-style hatred of Hillary. (Hint: ask for their real ID.) See more on this, below.

But the ground is shifting. Some cheats, like gerrymandering - a foul, indefensible travesty - will go away if a democrat appoints three more Supreme justices. But one has become essential to the oligarchy... rigged voting machines.  If the Trump Debacle truly does hit the GOP hard, in November, then Republicans could lose many of the state legislatures and governorships that are the true locus of their power. At which point their only hope is to alter vote counts, something that cannot happen much in blue states, because their voting machines generally keep paper audit trails, allowing random precincts to be double checked -- a safeguard that is conveniently absent in most places where republicans control the process of selecting and purchasing voting apparatus. 

See: How Republicans are gaming the voting system to tip the 2016 election in their favor.

There is a way to stymie this almost-certain cheat.  Some rich person can and must offer a whistleblower prize for any employees at the companies or bureaucracies that engage in vote-rigging, rewarding any henchman who steps up with clear evidence of this foul and treasonous crime.

== What Hath Bernie Wrought ==

I have long maintained that – were he alive today – Adam Smith would be a vociferous democrat.  Smith knew what today’s most vociferous proclaimers of capitalism have forgotten – or strive to conceal – that flat-fair-open-creative enterprise is one of the chief victims of an incestuously conniving aristocratic class, which Smith deemed the great enemy of competitive capitalism, across 6000 years.

One way that special interests destroy flat-fair markets is through regulatory “capture. Professor George Stigler, the Nobel Laureate (1982), in “Theory of Economic Regulation” (1972), explained that regulation, which is presumably put in place to protect the public, will eventually be acquired, or “captured,” by the very companies, industries, or their trade unions that are supposed to be regulated.

It’s not hopeless. Our institutions and competitive arenas need perpetual refresh and re-tuning and – across the last couple of centuries – it has happened, often enough to keep us free and creative. “Captured” agencies like the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) were dissolved and competition in rails and airlines restored. (Democratic Congresses did that, and deregulated telecom, GPS and the Internet, go figure.)

So where does Bernie Sanders fit in?  This article shows that he has pushed the argument to where we can clearly see how U.S. Capitalism is in trouble, threatened by a foe Adam Smith would recognize: 
“…over time, most capitalist democracies develop “distributional coalitions,” aka special interest groups, which organize to get the government to provide them with special subsidies, laws, and protection from competition. The dispersed public, be it taxpayers or consumers that are footing the bill, will fail to overcome the free rider problem and lose in the democratic battle with those coalitions.”  
The author then goes on to show how Sanders crystalizes this problem, in both his rhetoric and his actions. 

== Provocateurs, really? ==

Janell Ross, in the Washington Post’s “The Fix,” assails what she deems to be an undercurrent of “unprogressive” attitudes among some of the more shrill supporters of Bernie Sanders.  Alas, what she most clearly reveals is her own inability to see the obvious.  

Are some Berners getting carried away with over-wrought emotion? Sure. Do some of them too-readily imitate the hate-reflexes that volcanically typify the Republican side? You bet.  Will Bernie himself come down hard on those over-reactors, chiding them to grow-up?  He already has, many times, and he will.

No, what amazes me is that Ms. Ross and so many others look at vitriolic comment-section postings and interprets them as… real! 

OMG what decade are you living in, Ma’am? You call yourself a pundit, yet ignore the obvious? Let's return to our first topic.

In this U.S. election cycle, we’ve just seen a collapse of the power of well-funded PACs to affect electoral outcomes through traditional means such as television and other media buys. Jeb Bush spent $100 million for nothing. What’s an oligarch to do?

Why, emulate China, of course.  The Chinese government now pays up to half a million young web-junkies to spend all their working hours posting disinformation via social media, sabotaging non-compliant sites, denouncing flickers of dissent and praising patriotic tendencies. You can bet that right wing Political Action Committees are investing in social media operations, big-time, as we speak. And that their absolute top priority will be to demolish any chance of unity among democrats in the fall.

I would bet my house that we are already seeing this, in the vituperative shrillness of some Sanders “supporters” online.  Look up the term “agent provocateur.”  All your European friends will be happy to explain it to you.

And no, I do not dismiss all passionate Bernites as agents provocateurs, plotting to prevent another Clinton presidency!  Most, probably are simply devoted to a very smart and good candidate who’d make at-minimum a pretty good president and whom I’d support, if you guys earn him the nomination, fair and square. There are two ways to tell the difference between over-wrought sincerity and a spy-provocateur: 

First, true Bernites will listen, when Sanders himself chides them to remember the Supreme Court and Donald Trump… and work for the democrat in the fall. And if they can't stomach working for Hillary, they will find some local, state assmbly race where their passion could make a real difference.

Second, check for identity clues. Ask the loudest and most outraged to identify themselves. To email you from their home addresses.

Compile a list of the most vituperative comment postings and tuck them away, in case the Democratic Party hires a team to investigate collusive, PAC paid comments-sabotage. (And the DP should be hiring those investigators now.) The ravings that repeat endlessly under a variety of names are surely canned.

They have realized we're no longer passively glued to TV and manipulative ads no longer work well.  But they think we're still morons. Moreover, that billion dollars from Koch and Saudi and Macau manipulators will be spent, desperately clinging to the power they have used to harm America.  Ultimately, the immune system that will overcome this fever must be us.


148 comments:

bigsteve said...

I wish more of the conservative ilk would actually read Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations. What the father of capitalism wrote is very much at odds to current Republican ideology and policy.

I really do not think wide spread tampering of ballots would fly. Too many disgruntle employees who would spill the beans. And states are starting to over turn gerrymandering. Florida passed a citizen initiative to ban that.The league of Woman voters had to fight that in court to make the state enforce that law.

One of the things we need to do in Florida is restoration of civil rights to felons. The preponderance of them are of Black and Hispanic descent who if allowed to vote would mainly vote Democrat. The criminal laws have degenerated into a tool of oppression of minorities. Sorry Charley minorities are no more wicked than white populations.

If you are worried about voter fraud, absentee ballets are much more susceptible. Our supervisor of elections recently had voters resubmit a sample of their signature by mail.

I follow blogs of investment professionals and economists. Everyone one pretty much agrees with Democratic policies. Hopefully that party stays sane, supportive of fair play and true capitalism. I change parties recently back to Democrat so I could vote for Hillary. My state is a close primary state. Not one of the toads running for the GOP nomination could I vote for. And if Bernie pulls an upset I will vote for him in the fall.

I have been a super voter for decades, pay attention to politics and am a voracious reader. I heard that one starts life as a progressive and becomes more conservative as one ages. In my case the reverse has happen. Listening to Hillary it seems she evolve in a similar way.

Dave Werth said...

In Oregon we recently passed a law that automatically registers eligible voters when they interact with the Oregon DMV. We also have vote by mail. We get our ballots a couple of weeks before election day and can take our time filling it out and return it by mail or at a number of convenient drop off places (like the DMV office 2 blocks from my home).

Sea Canary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sea Canary said...

[Ask the loudest and most outraged to identify themselves. To email you from their home addresses.]
You really think they'll give it to you?

Tony Fisk said...

News is seldom convenient to posts, but I think this is massive news on the transparency front (and it is relevant to cheating):
Unaoil: bribers to the Corpocracy

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: I suspect a Sanders presidency would soon disappoint his supporters in much the way the Obama presidency did--one man as president can't transform the country as much as he implicitly promises to do or that his detractors explicitly fear he would.

Agreed. I remember sitting in a room during a campaign event in '08 with many Obama supporters. I felt like I was among the folks who drank the Koolaide. I still voted for him happily, by the self-generated hype was eye-opening. It wasn't Obama's fault his people felt let down later. They did it to themselves. They BELIEVED!

Do they still prescribe lithium for bipolar disorder? That's what it felt like.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Re Regulatory Capture

I have spent a lot of time on "Quality Procedures",
These are "regulations"
But they are also the companies "memory" people move on, the engineer who fixed that problem last time may have left
I think of it as assisting Sisyphus (the manufacturing people) by putting wedges behind the boulder so it does not slip back

What I have found is that for every procedure it is essential to include the "Purpose"
The reason WHY we need to do it that way
Having the reason right there means that you can easily see what the procedure is trying to do - and if circumstances have changed you can see if it is still necessary to do it that way

If legislation and regulations followed the same rule (they do here in NZ) then "Regulatory Capture" would be much harder

Anonymous said...

I have seen these trolls at work, using the insults of Limbaugh pasted into criticisms of Hillary from the left. At least those Chinese social media warriors (and the ones run my Moscow) do not need to twist into too many rhetorical knots as they are generally arguing for something. The trolls paid by Koch Kash have to use the language of the progressive left (railing against oligarchy and Wall Street) to denigrate Clinton. That would give me headaches! I am certain that I will soon read a tell all by one of these social media mercenaries.
-AtomicZeppelinMan

locumranch said...



Like those who don Union Blue to advocate Otherness but condemn the Otherness of those who don Confederate Grey, there are those who emit the foul stench of hypocrisy by

(1) Tacitly supporting the Koch-Saudi Axis through the condemnation of those 'Trumpanistas' who stand in opposition to both the Kochs & Saudis,

(2) Condemning gerrymandering as Republican voter fraud while simultaneously advocating the rapid & fraudulent naturalisation of Democrat-leaning immigrants, and

(3) Rejecting Red State Voter ID laws as restrictive & anti-democratic while simultaneously invalidating many Blue State Driver's Licenses (in IL, MN, NM, WA & CA to name a few) through inappropriate & anti-democratic liberalism.

http://money.cnn.com/2015/12/28/technology/passport-drivers-license-airplane/

It is as Adam Smith has said:

In the name of 'Equality, Fairness & Impartiality', the US Establishment has been co-opted by "special interest groups which organize to get the government to provide them with special subsidies, laws, and protection from competition", so much so that Up has become Down, Fair has become Bias & Freedom has become its opposite.


Best

David Brin said...

Tony, the Unoil thing. Fascinating... that any of them seemed so sure there'd be no leaks. Our oligarch overlords are NOT smart. And that is their deepest crime.

Locum is at his worst. The zero sum maestro actually contends that opposing Trump means we are therefore supporting the Koch-Saudi axis that Trump discomfits! Seriously! With a straight face, even!

(1) I am totally gleeful when DT attacks those traitors! I pray he will do it onstage next to HC during the debates! That does not make me want to give him nukes.

(2) A plague on both their houses.

Don't like dems increasing the % of immigrants in America? Fine! Attack that! But it is staggeringly stupid to make the issue ILLEGAL immigration, which always goes DOWN under democrats and has plummeted to near nothing under Obama! The Dems are culpable (if that's the term) for changing America's demographics through LEGAL immigration, and it is YOUR job to attack them for it. But not one gopper including Trump has done so. Not... one. And hence, again.... you are bitching about something that is ultimately GOP fault.

silly

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I can see that memory working in a social group with shared goals. The 'purpose' documents would help remind them. Our larger communities don't share all their goals, so there is incentive to lie on those documents. We call it politics, though. 8)

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred

Yes they can lie on the document -
But here the courts take the purpose statement seriously and it gives those attempting to subvert the regulations another bridge to cross

locumranch said...



"A plague on both their houses"
-- Republicans & Democrats --
a sentiment with which I agree.

David best invest in the passport US,
As a purported CA resident,
To remain a citizen by Real Fed ID.

http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2015/12/30/california-granted-extension-to-meed-federal-real-id-act-rules/

;)

Jumper said...

I guess the states with easy fake drivers' licenses will fix it pretty soon now. Funny locumranch is against it, what with the illegal aliens using easy fake drivers' licenses. Dude, you're seriously deficit in logic. Learn Sudoku or something; you're not nearly as rational as you are convinced you are.

David Brin said...

drivel, drivel, drool. So the crazy as heck GOP has split into two equally crazy houses. And the inmates screech "the dems are just as bad!" Prove it. Outcomes.

Dan G said...

Great post! Much to think about as usual, particularly the comments about the need for the Democratic Party to start investigating this trolling. It's pretty obvious when it is done online, but it existed in pre-web days as well. I don't know how many times I received nasty and threatening, unsigned letters from "people" after some of my letters to the editor were printed in the newspaper. I saw no point in going to the police-- what are they going to do, dust the letters for prints, watch the mail boxes to see if someone posts stacks of threatening letters to those of us criticizing Bush in the newspaper letter columns? But when it is so publically visible as it is on the web, perhaps there is more chance that these guys can be pinpointed and exposed.

Thanks for fighting the good fight Mr. Brin!

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "Already, Super Pacs lavishly funded by the Koch-Saudi axis have learned from the failure of their anti-Trump blitz that TV ad-buys have lost effectiveness..."

(1) There is no Koch-Saudi axis. Ever since they nationalized Aramco in the 70s (and finished that in the 80s), the Saudis have been the most serious existential threat the Koch oil empire has ever faced. They are actively seeking to bankrupt Koch enterprises and oil support companies (and Wall Street firms bankrolling the U.S. frackers). The closest they ever came to 'alliance' was a series of temporary truces (e.g., Republican insiders attempting to create a major external enemy - Iraq, and then Iran).

(2) The "anti-Trump blitz" in Florida (and Ohio) was a partially a sham, and mostly an insider 'pass-the-buck-to-your-cousin' routine: Jeb's SuperPAC poured money into advertising agencies for Republican stalwarts, who paid that to Murdoch & Co, who paid that back to them through political leverage (usually realized through real estate deals). It's an investment into human enterprises that are friendly and loyal. The oligarchs don't care if the winner is named Bush, Walker, Trump, or Clinton - so long as nobody is talking about raising capital gains, dividend taxes, or other property taxes. Minimum wage? Meh, it's a bitter pill someone else will have to swallow - doesn't even hurt the oligarch central command, which earns its money the old fashioned way (rents).

David Brin said...

Murdoch-Saudi is more accurate. But Puh-lease. The Kochs and Saudis share more interests than not. e.g. blocking climate TWODA and destroying the US political process.

donzelion said...

@AtomicZeppelin - "I am certain that I will soon read a tell all by one of these social media mercenaries."

Give these guys a little credit: they have smart advisers, even if they're not so ingenious themselves. You probably will hear about an agent provocateur if this becomes a meaningful meme - and when you do, it will probably be a contrived event - a fraud, intended to hide the prevalence of deeper fraud.

Seriously, why would you ever pay an "agent provocateur" directly? If you're a billionaire, you don't need to get your hands dirty: far easier to just offer a percentage or two of favorable interest rates to their employers on a 15-year lease - then take that advantage away if ever anyone refuses to play ball. A good puppeteer never gives the puppet agents the ability to turn on you (just ask how Prince Waleed feels about Donald Trump for proof of how that can work out).

Incidentally, that's also a reason why the Saudis can never play the game in America the way the Kochs can. The second a penny of Saudi money gets injected into that system and is used to rig the game, other players in America will call attention to it - making the "invisible puppeteer" quite visible. Saudis do not have 1st Amendment rights to form or fund SuperPACs - Kochs do. Kochs want it that way for very good reasons.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "Murdoch-Saudi is more accurate." I wish I could explain why this is not what it seems to be, but cannot state it openly. Let's just say that Prince Waleed (the only Saudi linked to Murdoch) also owns a huge chunk of Citibank, which is itself closely aligned with Israel - but there's no Jewish-Muslim axis, nor is there an Israeli-Saudi axis, nor is there really a Murdoch-Saudi axis. Things are not what they seem, even if occasionally those players fall on the same side.

"The Kochs and Saudis share more interests than not. e.g. blocking climate TWODA"
Hardly. Try thinking of this the way that Adam Smith would have: yes, British aristocrats and French aristocrats occasionally shared common interests (e.g., keeping the serfs in line, preventing the state from taxing rents) - but that never meant they formed any sort of alliance: they looked to lock in their own governments, and exploit their own fiefdoms. Marx figured that all those owners shared overriding interests (the owners of the world against the workers of the world) - but Marx was silly. So is a view of these guys as being united, when in reality, they never have been (even if they do business with one another).

On climate, Saudis are "skeptics" only in that they reject attempts to get oil-producers to foot the bill for climate change (for very obvious reasons). Domestically, they're quite serious about their concerns for climate change, since each day with over 120 degrees of weather hurts them far more than it does us. They've never financed the 'climate skeptic' foundations in any meaningful way - they're too busy driving their own elders to hospitals when it gets too hot. The most ardent Saudi "climate skeptics" (as misquoted by Washington Post, among others) are on record acknowledging climate change - their chief negotiators have acknowledged it, their last two kings have acknowledged it, and their only concern is not getting shafted with the bill.

"and destroying the US political process."
How? Show me some evidence that overrides the very obvious fundamental economic evidence that the Saudis (and other OPEC leaders) are arch-rivals and nemeses of the Kochs.

Zepp Jamieson said...

It should be noted that in areas of the web where moderation is light or non-existent, many users will quite legitimately refuse to divulge personal information, including email addresses. It doesn't (necessarily) mean they are fakes--they are just careful and/or paranoid. I wander into areas of the web where I wouldn't want my personal identity "out there".
There are ways to spot agent provocateurs beyond demands for identity. Most sound like unconvincing narcs ("I used to be a 'gimme-everything-for-free' librul socialist, but then Saint Rush showed me the error of my ways).
Another giveaway is a "I'm an _____, but..." The chances that that person is actually ____ is the inverse square of the number of times they use that gambit.
Most tend to get confused about which propaganda is popular with which camp. Sanders supporters, would be more worried about the G-S contributions and Hillary's refusal to release the xscripts of her speeches to them than, say, Vince Foster or Benghazi.
Someone who just created an account earlier that day and then proceeds to pepper conversation threads should be viewed with healthy scepticism. Some are just newbies, some aren't. Most will give the game away in fairly short order..

Paul SB said...

Zeppo, great suggestions on things to keep in mind when trying to be critical thinkers on line. It's too bad so few people seem to exercise these faculties. As a high school insider, I can say that little is being done to cultivate such skills.

Dr. Brin,

Do you think the two crazy houses correlate at all with the two general types of right-wingers that have been around for decades? That is, the fiscal conservatives and the social conservatives - recognizing that there is often overlap between them? (I prefer to use a different terminology, one that would get away from the usual assumptions that go with those words. Archaeologists and paleontologists often name whole suites of characteristics after a "type site" where something was first discovered. Neanderthals, for example, were named for the Neander Valley in Germany where remains were first recognized as something different from human. Human habitations sites in the Indus Valley that date between about 2400 and 1200 are called "Harrapan" after the ancient city of Harrapa (since we don't know what they called themselves).

Maybe we could called fiscal conservatives Type R after Rumsfeld, and Type A for Ashcroft (though the psychological use of the term 'Type A' often applies). After all, fiscal conservatives haven't saved any money since the Cold War, what they really want is to allow those businesses that have become Leviathan in scale to do their dirty business without fear of any legal consequences. Social conservatives aren't really conserving anything, either. They claim to be trying to preserve the "American Way" but the American Constitution guarantees freedom, while they are constantly trying to take away people's freedom and force them to conform to their own set of social norms and expectations.

Anyway, it seems to me like the loonies that support Cruz and the loonies who support Trump are kind of the same. I've been too busy to pay close attention, but I don't see the Type R's lining up behind one candidate and the Type A's lining up behind the other. It just looks like a matter of competing personalities, loyalties and narratives.

Paul SB said...

Alfred (from the last thread),

pfft. Progressives and Free Market Fetishists. Hah. 8)

This doesn't seem to be up to your usual level of argumentation. :/

Jumper said...

The only provocateurs I've come close to certainty about are Putin's, in comments about him and Russia in WaPo or NYT which "sound" as if they aren't American but sign as American-sounding screen names.

Tim H. said...

Robert reich had something interesting "Why the major media marginalize Bernie"
www.robertreich.org/post/141981929755
Not so much a conspiracy as "Not one of them".

Tacitus2 said...

If recently minted accounts are the mark of an Agent Provocateur I guess I am safe from that accusation. Its been what, a decade of intermittent posting on CB for me now?

Anonymous trollery is one thing, and it warrants the scorn heaped upon it. Some APs are a bit more transparent, I read today that the silly suggestion that the Republican Convention allow Open Carry was started by a Hillary supporter who just wanted to make Republicans look bad. I call that in bounds but a bit weaselly.

I find our host's political conspiracy world to be colorful fiction, if less readable that what he does for his "day job". No comments warranted.

But here in Wisconsin I soon have to cast a real vote, and one that might actually be important.

Polls call both races close.

I could vote on either side of the partisan aisle. But with respect to Bernie I don't see voting D will benefit the long term political health of the Body Politic. Clinton is unstoppable unless indited and that ain't gonna happen from the current Justice Department. The undemocratic nature of Super Delegates makes her a shoo in otherwise.

I can't vote Trump. Not now, not in a final election. I have no fondness for Cruz. People I speak with who are more in the know (actually talked with a fellow who will be a delegate at the convention the other day) say he is a hypocritical stoat who is disliked by Senators of all persuasions. And I do not hold with the tactic of shutting down the government.

But if the only plausible path to a reasonable R candidate is the faint hope of a brokered convention I guess I have to pull the lever for Cruz. I don't think Kasich can divert enough delegates to keep Trump from getting the nod.

So that's reality in Wisconsin.

Your mileage may vary.

Tacitus

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

Mercutio said "a plague a' both your houses" when he was dying. He understood only then that he had been betrayed by Romeo because Romeo had changed the rules without telling him. Romeo, the leader, lied by omission and for selfish reasons to Mercutio and thus caused his death. It is a strange parallel to what we see today in politics. The political leaders lie about the consequences of certain economic policies for selfish reasons and when these policies kill the middle class, they will beat their breasts and say “I did not want this to happen”. I am glad to see that the electorate has woken up and are using their votes to change things. Even if Cruz and Clinton are nominated, it won’t change that fact. The genie is out of the bottle. Sanders has shown that grass-root financing can overcome big money if the cause is right. However I doubt that either party will survive in their present configuration if they ignore the majority no matter how they spin it.

I am for all elections to be counted by paper ballot with no exceptions. You will get some fraud but much less than using electronic means. We get the results a day later and it costs a bit more. That is no big deal to most people. I am not for early balloting unless it is severely limited in time. It just makes it impossible for people to change their vote if new information comes in.

You say that a democrat president could appoint up to three Supreme Court Justices and that might solve some problems like rigged voting machines or gerrymandering and that is true but wouldn’t that depend on which democrat is elected? Since SuperPACs benefit both party elites, do you really believe that Cruz or Clinton would appoint someone who would go against their interests in this very important issue?

The internet has been around a long time now and I think most people recognize a troll when they see them. If you agree with the troll then there is no problem but what do you call a sophisticated troll who uses logic and constructed arguments to get across what he is saying? Then he is no longer a troll but more a political commentator and on par with what we often read in many papers and blogs. They are also paid to write their pieces as well. Our job, as readers,is to find the holes in their logic and counter their message. Being amply financed no longer means that you will automatically be believed. Let the Kochs blow their money if they want. At least some of their wealth "trickles down" a bit.

Deuxglass said...

Hi Alfred,

I suspect that here is probably some crossover between Trump and Sander’s supporters just because of the “Hope” factor. The disillusion with the “business as usual” political process has just become so great that many would vote for one or the other as long as it is against the party elites. Both are hitting hard on the two most import issues, employment and healthcare and that strikes a chord with the electorate. The traditional candidates are scrambling to change their positions but it is probably too late for them to be believed. The worst-case scenario is that both party candidates are chosen in brokered conventions closing out both Trump and Sanders thereby forcing the electors who “hope” with no influence at all. This is the real wild card. How will they react when faced with a choice of more or less the same policies that they have endured for the last 25 years and that are proven highly defective?

Trudy Osteen Crow said...

We must not only BELIEVE, we must continue to work at local, state, and national levels! The only way to truly fix the top is to pull the bottom from underneath them and be a true force for change! Remember: An oject in motion stays in motion while an object at rest reaps what billionaires bribe, lie, and kill for to satisfy their insatiable GREED. It's amazing how millions of people have succumbed to the will of a handful of oligarchs with hardly any fight at all.

raito said...

LarryHart,

I consider the relative slowness of democracies gear-grinding a feature, not a bug.

Dr. Brin,

If I wished to twist your statement in illegal immigration, I'd be saying that the reason we lave less of it now is because of the poor state of the US, rather than the rising state of Mexico. There's probably some pundit doing that right now.

And speaking of compliance assistance with respect to the voter ID law in Wisconsin, dig this:

WI puts in a voter ID law.
Legislature gives money to the GAB and instructs the GAB to get the word out.
Then the state government shuts down the GAB.
Result? No official compliance assistance other than at the GAB website.

My forebrain tells me the government is run by morons. My hindbrain tells me someone played a long con.

At least the media is trying to get the word out.

Tacitus2,

Any take on the WI Supreme Court race (personally, I see it as stupid vs. evil)? Or the fall's Senate race (mildly amusing that the guy who got tossed out last time is ahead in the polls this time)?

locumranch said...

\

It's called sarcasm, Jumper:

Passed by Congress in 2005, the REAL ID Act enacted the 9/11 Commission's recommendation that the US Federal Government “set standards for the issuance of sources of identification, such as driver's licenses", the irony being that (1) the so-called Red (confederate; anti-union; pro-nationalist) States are almost universally compliant to this federal statute, while (2) the so-called Blue (federalist; pro-union; anti-nationalist) States are almost universally delinquent to it, mostly because (3) this statute is said not to pertain to civilian driving privileges, voting rights & federal agencies.

Got that?

The REAL ID Act -- which sets federal standards for the issuance of identifying "driver's licenses" -- applies to citizenship, those political rights afforded to citizens (free association, movement, air travel & political access) but NOT motor vehicle operation.

Participation with the REAL ID Act is also said to be 'voluntary', even though the (mostly Blue State) citizenry that are said to be 'non-compliant' to this voluntary federal requirement are PROHIBITED from boarding aircraft, exercising their political rights & accessing federal facilities, completing the reversal:

Up is now Down; Red States are now Compliant Union Federalists; Blue States are now Non-Compliant 'Johnny Reb' Confederates; Red Rural conservatives fight climate change by conserving resources; Blue Urban libertines create climate change by squandering resources; and, if you self-identify as a social progressive, you may want to trade-in those blue kepis for confederate grey because non-compliance to the REAL ID Act means neither State nor Civil Rights for you !

So, when you're done with the whole childish BELIEVE fantasy, some tumbrels (and then some heads) are gonna roll, regardless of the colour of your kepis.


Best

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Tacitus2
A newly-minted account is an indicator, and not direct evidence of anything. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

I strongly suspected the Convention Carry petition was started by someone unsympathetic to Republicans or "carry anywhere" laws. I regard it as legitimate political satire; Republicans don't want to expose themselves to the same risks the rest of us have to take with guns in churches, schools, bars and shopping malls. Hell, I signed it myself under that premise.

Hillary isn't going to be indicted unless strong evidence emerges that she willfully compromised national security. That some of the emails have been reclassified as containing secret material after the fact is irrelevant: they were not so classified at the time. Even the claim that she was being feckless or reckless is substantially weakened by the fact that two of her predecessors in office -- Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell -- both used private servers for some official correspondence. Baring some John Dean-type revelation, the emails remain in the realm of right wing fantasy, where so many of the Clinton scandals live.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: There is still the problem of the Court taking a purpose document seriously when that document was intended as a pack of lies. See the problem?

When a group has shared goals, those docs make a lot of sense. When they don't share goals, but cooperate in a market instead, those docs might actually be poisonous. It all depends on who writes them and what THEIR goals were. Even well-intentioned writers can construct poisonous purpose docs when they fail to understand anything but their purpose.

Now... if EVERYONE writes their own version and we keep them all, we stand a fighting chance of getting the benefit you seek. We might discover cross-purposes, but at least we will know. We will still miss out on what nobody knew, but that is better than where we are now.

donzelion said...

@Zepp - "Even the claim that she was being feckless or reckless is substantially weakened by the fact that two of her predecessors in office -- Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell -- both used private servers for some official correspondence."

Agreed. I think it was Paul Krugman who coined the dominant standard for all such scandals - "IOKIYAR" - "It's OK if you are Republican." A useful standard when operating a rage engine - but useless for building the country.

And as far as the 'rage engine' goes - and all defeatist "pox on both their houses" nonsense: we live in an era of unprecedented transparency, in which private citizens can monitor flows of federal and state funding in minutes and hours, rather than after weeks of fighting - in which a representative is seconds away, rather than weeks and months - in which ordinary private citizens have more power, thanks to technology, than at any time in our history (save perhaps during the first years of our founding). Yet somehow we feel powerless, helpless, paralyzed: we need a hero to do what we're unwilling to do for ourselves.

A strange political astrology has taken hold, one that displaces constellations with politicians, then tries to read them to see if they'll give us what we want. Yet we, of all people, we know that the stars do not operate to help to 'give us something we want' - astrology is futile. Whether Mercury is in retrograde or Clinton is reliable is irrelevant and beside the point: the thing is what are we trying to do, to learn, to be? Can we guide Clinton, Trump, Cruz, Sanders, or whoever takes the White House to do something better?

Personally, I'm optimistic. I think getting laws enacted that are important - e.g., protecting the right to record the police in their public missions - is a useful task, worthy of our attention, achievable with our resources. If that task is important, then it's worth trying to refine a clear position, and induce a politician to endorse it.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Donzelion

It is legal to record police in the performance of their duties in all 50 states. No matter how vociferously the cops may try to claim otherwise, it is the law, and your basic right.

Reading your remarks about "IOKIYAR" I had to chuckle, having just read about the blowup over Trump's remarks about punishing women who get "illegal abortions." I actually felt a twinge of sympathy for the Trumpster: if an action is illegal, than someone performing that action should be punished. I actually understand why he first answered the way he did.

What made the situation more entertaining was the outraged response of Republicans, who distanced themselves as fast as they could. This, despite ongoing efforts for decades now to criminalize any action that "may be injurious to the unborn" as they like to phrase it. Thus, proposed laws to report all miscarriages to the police, efforts to criminalize drug use, including drugs that are legal, by pregnant women, even when they aren't shown to have any affect on the foetus.

But the take on Trump's remark was "women should be punished for terminating their pregnancies" and even though that's EXACTLY what many Republicans would like to see, it's a third rail, and Donald licked it. Now those same Republican have to attack him, once again, for saying in plain English what they wanted all along.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Saudis do not have 1st Amendment rights to form or fund SuperPACs


But corporations do, and anyone can form one.

Robert said...

Actually, the cat was let out of the bag by Trump. And I suspect Hillary will capitalize on it massively to mobilize people against the Republicans.

Because we already have women being imprisoned for miscarriages and abortions using laws meant to protect women. And these incidents are happening in Red States.

They can claim all they want "we only want to penalize the doctors who perform these horrible crimes!" but Hillary (or Sanders) can easily say "The Republican Party ALREADY throws women in jail for having a miscarriage. If they win the Presidency, then any woman who suffers a miscarriage could end up in jail. And any doctor treating that woman could likewise be thrown in jail."

I don't like Clinton. In fact, I would have to think really long and hard if my vote was the deciding vote to get her elected. (Unless her opponent was Cruz. I'll vote Hillary over Cruz any day of the week.) But you know what? I would sit back and applaud if she took this gaff and rammed it down the throats of the Republican Party.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

There are ways to spot agent provocateurs beyond demands for identity. Most sound like unconvincing narcs ("I used to be a 'gimme-everything-for-free' librul socialist, but then Saint Rush showed me the error of my ways).
Another giveaway is a "I'm an _____, but..." The chances that that person is actually ____ is the inverse square of the number of times they use that gambit.


Whenever someone calls NorMan GoldMan's radio show and begins with "I'm and independent who listens to both sides...", he's inevitably going to follow with a right-wing talking point. Never fails.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Social conservatives aren't really conserving anything, either. They claim to be trying to preserve the "American Way" but the American Constitution guarantees freedom, while they are constantly trying to take away people's freedom and force them to conform to their own set of social norms and expectations.


Actually, they're trying to preserve the "Christian Way", which is not the same thing.

And when they talk about religious liberty, they don't mean the freedom of an individual to worship (or not worship) as he thinks is best. They mean the freedom of the Church to enforce its will upon the surrounding society.

LarryHart said...

raito:

LarryHart,

I consider the relative slowness of democracies gear-grinding a feature, not a bug.


I don't remember saying otherwise.

If you're referring to my comment that Bernie would disappoint his supporters as Obama did by virtue of the powerlessness of the presidency to do radical transformation, that was meant to soothe fears that a President Sanders would wreak havoc with the economy in his first 100 days.

David Brin said...

Deuxglass to say that Clinton would support the heinously awful Super Pac situation and Citizens United just because she has managed to use Pacs within today’s corrupt system is simply nuts. She and every other major democrat has declared fierce dedication to ending Citizens United and the overwhelming power of oligarchic and corporate wealth in US politics. Might be be slightly less radical than Sanders? Sure. Is it “hypocritical” to fight the game under current rules? Bull.

The purpose of paid trolls on sanders sites is to make it a legitimate stance to scream Bernie yes and Hillary never!” They know Sanders will hug her at the convention. They want to legitimize a different response.

==
Locum might you provide links to an impartially journalistic site re the REAL ID disparity? I am interested. As I would be in any cogently argued conservative perspective. This being the first truly intriguing one from you in quite some time.

+
Whether a demmie agent provocateur first triggered the convention open carry petition is irrelevant. One troll saying one thing is unavoidable. 50,000 gleeful redder signers of the petition? Priceless.

David Brin said...

Tacitus you are always welcome her. As for conspiracies, of course the lines can be vague. When the Koch boys hold a gathering of struldbrugs and the result in a BILLION dollars in legal PAC money, is that conspiracy? Is the Hastert Rule, to punish any republican officeholder who negotiates with democrats, especially the nation’s elected president? When Saudi textbooks, shipped free to subsidized madrassas and devoured by all the 9/11 hijackers and all the ISIS leaders, are state secrets so that the anti-western venom can be kept out of the US press… does that count?

Does it count that the state legislatures who went republican by squeakers in 2010 have gerrymandered spectacularly, to ensure those results can never be reversed? Or that by coincidence it is only in red states that voting machines are routinely configured so that random precinct audits are impossible, allowing the programmers to simply command any result they want? Is it a “conspiracy” that one side demands we never again have a media “rebuttal rule”, allowing a few minutes of rebuttal per hour of propaganda?

Mind you, not a single one of those things I mention above is even disputed! They are all simply true and on the record, and the question is in each case “do you call this heinously awful and destructive thing ‘conspiracy’?”

We have not even begun the huge real of nasty things that AREN’T part of the open record, but only seem likely to be true. Or dreadful hypocrisies like Voter ID laws that place onerous new burdens on poor citizens, without allocating one penny for compliance assistance.

“Clinton is unstoppable unless indited and that ain't gonna happen from the current Justice Department.”

It’s not gonna happen under any justice department, whatsoever. There is no “there’ there. And any conservative should be embarrassed by how desperate they are to find a smoking gun over… emails. Cripes.

John Kasich is a nightmare and it is a pure sign of where things have gone that this nasty piece of work is viewed as too nice and moderate for the confederacy. This has to stop and guys like you… ostrich sincere American conservatives … have got to be the beginning.

Please... is there someone out there YOU would call an icon of GROWNUP conservatism? Who stands with Adam Smith and Alexander Hamilton and Dwight Eisenhower... heck even the better side of Ronald Reagan?

Zepp Jamieson said...

@ David Brin

I know that virtually all politicians on both sides of the aisle who have been free to voice their opinion utterly loathe the present campaign funding system, and did even before Citizen's United. I would have no reason to suppose that Clinton is any different.

But then, I read that Debbie Wasserman Schultz just co-sponsored Republican legislation to nullify the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and I wonder just how deep the suborning of politicians by this system of legalised bribes has taken us.

And yes, I realize that DWS and Clinton are two seperate people, but they do tend to be in one another's pockets a lot.

donzelion said...

@Larry - "Saudis do not have 1st Amendment rights to form or fund SuperPACs." Response: "But corporations do, and anyone can form one."

Corporations organized in the U.S. do, but the electoral rules left intact with Citizens United still ban and closely track such spending by foreigners to influence U.S. elections.

Hypothetically, a Saudi PAC might operate through a U.S. organization, and sue to challenge the existing, strict limits - and if Citizens United is upheld, THEN they could exercise as much influence as any other corporate PAC. None of that has happened, and the existing PACs are rigorous at keeping out "foreign money" to prevent the risk of losing their own 'legitimacy.'

Against the possibility of this occurring, and the risks (including criminal charges of fraud) - one needs evidence to reach a conclusion that it is in fact occurring. Otherwise, one is spouting conspiracy nonsense, where the absence of evidence is the best evidence of a cover-up, UNLESS one wants to assert Saudi control over FoxNews...in which case, um, what does Fox think of Muslims? How friendly has FoxCo been of Muslims? Fox called Prince Waleed a "possible terrorist financier" - even though he owned the largest stake in Fox's class A shares outside the Murdoch family (again, there is more to the Fox/Saudi story than meets the eye, and the shares obtained by an outsider in no way suggest 'control' or 'influence' - Fox pisses off Saudis something awful, and does so habitually, except when Fox is beating war drums against Iran).

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus2,

First of all, good to "see" "you" back "here".


I read today that the silly suggestion that the Republican Convention allow Open Carry was started by a Hillary supporter who just wanted to make Republicans look bad. I call that in bounds but a bit weaselly.


I actually think that's a legitimate point. Not just to "make them look bad", but to call them out on a particular hypocricy. Right-wing lawmakers and pundits regularly assert that "gun free zones" just tell the bad guys where no one can fight back, so schools, churches, sports games, etc, would all be safer if everyone was allowed to pack heat.

Pointing out that they don't allow guns at their own venues is a way of posing the rhetorical question "Why not?" If they have to admit that forbidding guns is a security measure, then that raises the question "Why does that not apply to all other venues?" It demonstrates that they don't believe their own arguments.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Clinton is unstoppable unless indi[c]ted and that ain't gonna happen from the current Justice Department. The undemocratic nature of Super Delegates makes her a shoo in otherwise.


Do you have to keep getting digs in about Hillary cheating, even though:

1) She's going to win without Super Delegates (the ones Bernie is now actively courting)

2) She's not going to be indicted because there's no there there--nothing that previous secretaries of state of both parties didn't do before her. The fact that documents were later classified and that laws were later passed to make what she did illegal going forward is irrelevant ex post facto stuff.

3) Given the Trump/Cruz situation, I'll bet you wish the Republicans had Super Delegates

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Even the claim that she was being feckless or reckless is substantially weakened by the fact that two of her predecessors in office -- Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell -- both used private servers for some official correspondence.


Also by the fact that her personal e-mail servers were probably less of a hacking target than the government ones.

If I had read ahead, I wouldn't have bothered responding with virtually the same points that you did. :)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Agreed. I think it was Paul Krugman who coined the dominant standard for all such scandals - "IOKIYAR" - "It's OK if you are Republican."


Sounds like a cousin to Dick Cheney's "Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter", juxtaposed with the Tea Party frothing at the mouth about deficits, during a recession no less.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - "Mind you, not a single one of those things I mention above is even disputed!"
Well, I can dispute the bit about Saudi textbooks, or the perception of Saudi Arabia as the source of ISIS (Daesh) logic.

Outsiders seldom grasp the nature of internal competition and struggle in Saudi schools. As in American schools, where a textbook might refer to slaves as "immigrants" and downplay slavery as a factor in the Civil War, or downplay "evolutionary theory" - any number of different agendas is in play, all competing with one another. For the madrassas, you'll find Deobandi madrassas (Pakistan, Afghanistan) occasionally welcoming Saudi gifts, but given the deep distinctions between Hanafi (most South Asian Muslims) and Hanbali traditions, to think of it as a "Saudi derived" set of doctrines is like accusing American Conservatives of adopting French political theory.

By the way, I recommend adopting the term "daesh" - which (1) is technically more accurate, (2) annoys the heck out of ISIS, and (3) puts you in a thought leadership role. Here's a good explanation for the term, and why it's a better choice than ISIS -
/www.freewordcentre.com/blog/2015/02/daesh-isis-media-alice-guthrie/

"...state secrets so that the anti-western venom can be kept out of the US press… does that count?"

Actually, much of the Saudi textbooks were developed by the West, reviewed by the West, and routinely attacked in the U.S. and other Western press. We can talk in person if you'd like to know more about how the Western press operated in Saudi Arabia though.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - as for this, "dreadful hypocrisies like Voter ID laws that place onerous new burdens on poor citizens, without allocating one penny for compliance assistance." - the logic has never been to place an "onerous burden" on poor citizens, so much as to place "enough" burden so as to turn 1-3% of them away from voting, so long as the people discouraged from voting are predominantly not the people you wanted to vote.

Las Vegas was built by manipulating 1-3% probabilities - and elections are won and lost based on such manipulations. Evolution and species survival is driven by such small probabilities, when they recur reliably. So a 1-3% change is important and merits harsh criticism.

But the easiest way to get much larger numbers than 1-3% of the electorate to not vote is to spread "A pox on both your houses!" rhetoric: convince enough people that they're all corrupt and incompetent, that there's no hope, that the game is fixed and the good guys lost and will always lose. That knocks out 40-50% of the electorate, making oligarchy far easier to sustain.

David Brin said...

donzel it matters not a whit how Fox portrays "rag heads" to confed ground troops. What matters is shared interests. Wahhabbi doctrine WANTS an inevitable wets-vs-Islam confrontation, juyst much slower and well-planned than Osama or ISIS pushed things. First America must be made brittle and you do that by destroying the US political system, and Fox has been instrumental.

Foreign money can pour into US politics. The Chinese arrange for Adelson's Macau casinos to be spectacularly and improbably profitable and voia, he spends all of it on US politics. Saudis make a contract conditional on some US citizen or corporation setting up a PAC -- voila.

some time back I offered links to support the Saudi textbook assertion. I'll not bother digging for it for a comment rebuttal. Where's yours?

db

Tacitus2 said...

Lets see if I can keep track here.

Ratio

regards the WI Senate Race. It is Johnson vs Feingold. Johnson has done fairly little to distinguish himself one way or the other as I see it. He is probably a good guy. Feingold has the rare attribute of being willing to actually buck authority whether it is a popular president of the other party or his own leadership. By some accounts he is not a particularly nice person. I have at various times voted for and against him. I thought in the GWB years it was good to have a counterweight. If we appear to be heading for Trumpville I will think that again. In other circumstances my decision may differ. I met him last month btw, he came by where my FIRST robotics team was working and did a photo op. Shook his hand.

Larry and David

We are allowed to hold diverse opinions regards all matters including Hillary Clinton. My point is that the Justice Department is viewed as being so politicized that an indictment is not going to happen regardless of the facts. And I try not to prejudge facts beyond noting that a large contingent of FBI agents is likely doing something other than playing solitaire and drinking coffee. Consider yourself being forced to choose between Richard Nixon and George Wallace. You would be no happier than I.

I dislike Super Delegates. It is the modern smoke filled room. Ironic that I am more democratic than the Democrats.

Various conservatives with mischief in their hearts have proposed things along the lines of asking that the Democratic National Convention adopt Unisex bathrooms in solidarity for transgendered Americans.

It would be a little amusing to see the fuss, but its not grown up to make light of an issue that does have a negative impact on a few people. Very few imho, but still some.

Tacitus

Jumper said...

Here's a history of the Republican plot to suppress Democratic Party voters.
http://billmoyers.com/story/whats-behind-the-gop-witch-hunt-for-voter-fraud/

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "Foreign money can pour into US politics. The Chinese arrange for Adelson's Macau casinos to be spectacularly and improbably profitable..."
Extraordinary allegations require extraordinary evidence. Though both Adelson and Trump profited from their Chinese enterprises, it would be wacky to claim either is a Manchurian agent, let alone candidate. That said, the Federal Election Commission, backed by the wealthiest Americans of all, is vehement about chasing down foreigners trying to manipulate our political system directly.

More often, if they're interfering in our politics, it'll be by buying aircraft or autos from Europe rather than from America. There's a reason for all those Lexus taxicabs...

"Wahhabbi doctrine WANTS an inevitable wets-vs-Islam confrontation..."
Don't tell the Qataris this, they'll be annoyed to discover that their main doctrine requires them to expel our bases and stop investing in our country.

Wahhabi doctrine, going back two centuries, has little interest in the West - it's focus is on 'purifying' Islam and removing 'innovations' (esp. shrines and Shi'a). You're thinking of (1) Egyptian jihadism (which inspired AQ and militant Palestinian groups), (2) Deobandi references (e.g., Taliban and Pakistani movements), or (3) Daesh references. Each of these movements has an anti-colonial component that justifies killing Westerners for various reasons. None of them really focus on killing Westerners - that's a tactical ploy (e.g., to bring Americans into a meatgrinder in Afghanistan so that America can be destroyed, just as the Soviet Union was - at least, by their reckoning).

Wahhabis, by and large, view all these groups as "deviant" - a charge near to apostasy (as in, they must be stopped forcefully, but are not automatically subject to death sentences and may be rehabilitated). Conflating them all together mucks up the range of options available for dealing with these groups.

As for the textbooks claim, take a look at the US Commission on International Religious Freedom - which monitors the textbooks, translates them, and consistently finds 'improvements' (albeit, not fast enough). You can read their annual reports here: http://www.uscirf.gov/sites/default/files/Saudi%20Arabia%202015.pdf

Among other players in that space, Freedom House has never had an office in Saudi, and the primary opposition reporting from the Gulf Institute is paid for by the same folks who finance AEI.

All that said, I can clarify personally exactly how those changes have come about, and where the obstacles lurk (hint: several royals learned they could extract billions of dollars by embarrassing the king - so whenever the Protocols pop up, it's a ploy by a rogue royal demanding a few million to pay off new personnel to hunt down such nonsense), and why some of the Americans in the game aren't entirely trustworthy (e.g., Random House lost a bid to Pearson to help revise the curriculum - and subsequently discovered a number of new abuses, which are probably old abuses). But that would have to be offline...

Jumper said...

Isn't Justice the ones who keep looking into the Clinton email brouhaha?
The right wing keeps harping about these new revelations which like phantoms never seem to actually materialize. The whole thing keeps going because of Justice. I remember Nixon, and he still went down, and people in the Justice department did their part. I wouldn't assume only politicos have control.

Alfred Differ said...

@Deuxglass: I just don't see the connection for hopeful voters between Sanders and Trump. Sanders is a nice guy and persuasive. Trump is persuasive, but all over the map concerning what he wants you to believe. Sanders isn't and I don't think Sander's supporters are so foolish as to miss that fact.

Maybe I've got my California rose colored lenses on, though. Maybe my fellow citizens in other states aren't bright enough to see through the illusion. I doubt it, but I could be wrong. Fortunately for my sense of suspense, we will know soon enough. 8)

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I dislike Super Delegates. It is the modern smoke filled room. Ironic that I am more democratic than the Democrats.


There is a certain amount of cognitive dissonance with the concept, and I suspect the Democratic rules will soon be changed to eliminate them, or at least neuter them. That's already sort of happening as in 2008, when they did not take the nomination away from Barack Obama.

It doesn't bother me that you dislike super delegates. It bothers me that you talk as if the fix is in for the super delegates to steal the nomination away from Bernie and hand it to Hillary, when the math says Hillary will win with pledged delegates. Likewise, when you talk as if the only reason Hillary will not be indicted is political, whereas it seems to me that the only reason she ever would be indicted is political. I react to both allusions the same way.


Various conservatives with mischief in their hearts have proposed things along the lines of asking that the Democratic National Convention adopt Unisex bathrooms in solidarity for transgendered Americans.

It would be a little amusing to see the fuss, but its not grown up to make light of an issue that does have a negative impact on a few people. Very few imho, but still some.


Anything with "bathrooms" in it sounds juvenile. If conservatives really feel that unisex bathrooms are being "rammed down their throats", it might be enlightening to make the Dems put their money where their mouths are. That would be analogous to what I see with the gun petition. I could also see the Dems going "Ok, we can live with that," and really be ok with having unisex bathrooms, so there's that.

I think that with respect to guns and banning of guns, the Republicans really are being hypocritical--not because they want to keep guns out of their convention for obvious reasons, but because in other contexts they refuse to recognize those same obvious reasons, and in fact condemn liberals for wanting to ban guns from colleges, churches, restaurants, pretty much any gathering place. If they really believed gun-free zones are invitations to crime, and that the more guns around, the safer everyone is, then they should welcome guns at the convention. If they can see why it would be a bad idea, then they should extend that same courtesy to others.

The petition is, as Dave Sim would put it, a way of jumping on the bandwagon in order to demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off.

Tacitus2 said...

Larry

I agree that Clinton will win without SuperDels. But they give her that air of inevitability that discourages challengers. Such is, I suspect, their intended purpose.

I don't much like her but she would likely not be our worst president ever.

I just can't help but think we are not seeing the brightest and best offered as choices to we poor voters these days.

I view the whole bathroom issue as way, way down the list of problems we face as a society. It does raise the issue of how one individual's rights may come into conflict with another's. I have all boys. They might well have been ok with a female appearing person coming in and using the bathroom when they were doing likewise. It happens from time to time at over crowded sports venues anyway. How, and I ask in sincerity, would your daughter feel about a male appearing person doing similarly?

But honestly lets not waste much time on this kind of nonsense.

Tacitus

Tacitus

Jumper said...

Depressing music in the locum vein
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEQldSi-heE

LarryHart said...

Tacitus:

I just can't help but think we are not seeing the brightest and best offered as choices to we poor voters these days.


I agree. I work with several people who would make better presidents.

But we have a political system that attracts a certain kind of candidate, and that kind of candidate is different from who you or I would want to see in office.


But honestly lets not waste much time on this kind of nonsense.


Dude, you brought up bathrooms. Do you really think the gun petition is on that same level? I see it as more of a legitimate argument, albeit framed as an indirect proof. On the order of Marge Simpson confronting Mr Burns with the three eyed mutant fish which he had claimed was safe, but would not eat himself.

Alfred Differ said...

I just can't help but think we are not seeing the brightest and best offered as choices to we poor voters these days.

Hmpf. Does anyone here actually WANT the job? What a hassle it must be.

Regarding bathrooms, males aren't all that comfortable around males either. Try making eye contact with a stranger the next time you are in a public restroom and see the stress build. Who You Lookin' At!

Seriously, though, I'd rather we didn't try too hard to prove than an armed society isn't actually all that polite. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: Okay. I've read up on the Arabic acronym. Useful to know and spread. I'll do my part.

I find your 'scam the King' a much more likely scenario than David's conspiracies. An anti-US conspiracy is just too appealing to the barbarism within me, so I fear self-delusion. Royal scams, however, have so much history behind them that we should simply assume them as part of the portfolio of explanatory narratives.

If I were a believer, I'd have to think someone is getting quite a chuckle out of all this.

donzelion said...

"But we have a political system that attracts a certain kind of candidate, and that kind of candidate is different from who you or I would want to see in office."

Who would you want to see in office? What are the important issues that matter to you more than, say, bathroom humor?

On the issues, I see Hillary as being about "women are good, minimum wage at $12" - Sanders as about "poor kids are good, minimum wage at $15" - Cruz to be about "Christianity is good, taxes are bad" and Trump to be about...well, "Trump is a genius, everything else doesn't matter." Once you move away from reading tea leaves to look into their souls and discern "how honest is this person" (answer: they're all politicians, or trying to be) - things get a lot easier.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - Daesh. Let all the hordes of science fiction thought leaders embrace the term, correct anyone who uses ISIS, and join the party mocking the hell out of those bastards.

"I find your 'scam the King' a much more likely scenario than David's conspiracies."
David's thinking fits with an awful lot of liberals (as well as progressives and conservatives) who lump all their adversaries into one vast conspiracy. But America was born because the feudal French backed the upstart rebels: we should strive to recognize fractures where they exist - and sometimes, even exploit them. And as far as I'm concerned, if the Saudis bankrupt some of Koch's fellow travelers (while their own budget tightens to the point that they have to trade guns for air conditioning & water) - America will be richer for it.

But if the day ever comes that we get to chat about these things in person, I'm pretty sure we'll have more interesting things to chat about.

David Brin said...

“My point is that the Justice Department is viewed as being so politicized…”

Yes, I can accept the “is viewed” part. I know that's the narrative. Viewed. I have seen no credible evidence to support it. And given the last 20 years of Koch-paid ready-to-pounce consultants looking for demmie torts to scream at, I find that lack of any palpable substance reassuring.

Super-delegates… almost all people who have recently faced (and won) an election.

dozel I freely admit my Macao-connection hypothesis is based on only one one report that that casino of Adelson was “very profitable.” even in rough times. To be honest, in this case I got nothing else… except that the motive means and opportunity are perfect.

OTOH the notion that the graduates of Saudi financed madrassas would just HAPPEN to be 9/11 hijackers and ISIS and so on stretches all credulity. You are reciting exactly the rationalization they would want circulating in the west. Please, take Osama and Baghdadi at their word. They share a dream they imbibed from those schools. Caliphate.

Tacitus, tell you what. Make every democratic delegate use a unisex toilet and every GOP delegate carry a gun. Oh. Please. Then fight over Trump-Cruz

Look, I wanted Jerry Brown to run, so that he could at least be in a few debates and blow everyone’s minds. Shattering narratives and pat cliches. As unconventional as Trump but with a giant IQ and love of reality and science and a heart.

But dig it, there has never been a scintilla of evidence that Hillary Clinton is anything other than a very smart, ambitious, hardworking women who does a fine job at anything she tries, and who would enter office superbly qualified and with a fund of good advice at her elbow. Jiminy, talk about Occam’s Razor!

Eleven HOURS berated and standing up impressively to that kangaroo “Benghazi Hearing” with barely bathroom breaks. You want pressure-tested? But the main thing is appointments. 5000 democratic manic-overworkers, without one verified scandal among them across 16 years…

…vs 5000 Bushite-Cheney-Halliburton cronies who sold this country so heinously that no one even noticed or inquired about TWELVE BILLION DOLLARS IN RAW CASH that flew into baghdad one day and promptly vanished. The only beneficiaries of all those wars? Cheney family companies and the Saudi Royal House while we got a torched economy, stagnant science, a demolished military.... And you would allow ANY gopper near having the power to appoint such disasters, ever again?

At least Trump would appoint a different ‘brain trust.” That… THAT… is what the GOP establishment has against him.

David Brin said...

Re the Saudis: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/01/world/middleeast/isis-saudi-arabia-wahhabism.html

Robert said...

Interesting. Looks like I jinxed the Kaisich scenario.

Cruz is calling for some scenario that was passed in 2012 that could prevent Kasich from being on the floor if he doesn't win a plurality in eight states in the case of a contested convention. Basically it's a burnt earth policy to not only deny Kasich the chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat... but has pretty much destroyed the thought of a Kasich/Cruz ticket.

If Dr. Brin is correct in his theory Cruz was hoping for the VP nod initially... the fact he's done as well as he has resulted in a change in plan. He's going for the gold this time and to hell with anyone else.

Rob H.

donzelion said...

re Saudis - Ben Hubbard is a new one to me at NYT, I know his editor and several of their journalists quite well. His writing isn't terrible, but the "long history" paragraph is a little inaccurate. I'm impressed that he got a one-month visa to write in Saudi; usually, their journalists only got two weeks when I was there.

The article discloses the obvious friction between Saudis and Daesh - and the body count speaks for itself. Saudi schools do NOT promote restoration of the caliphate - for the simple reason that the Saudi royal family would be ineligible to assume that role as they're not part of the prophet's immediate tribe, and the royals aren't willing to abdicate.

What you will find in their history textbooks is a mournful, romantic reminiscence toward that 'golden age' - when Muslims ruled sciences and amassed a powerful empire. One can look fondly at aspects of the Caliphate as well - the invention of algebra is a wonderful advance in science, and their work with lenses helped pave the way toward modern astronomy - without wanting to restore the caliphate.

"You are reciting exactly the rationalization they would want circulating in the west. Please, take Osama and Baghdadi at their word."
I do study what they say, as I have for two decades now, and indeed, as I once dedicated my life to eradicating such rot. But just as I do not accept Timothy McVeigh or George W. Bush as speaking for 'white Americans,' I do not accept these folks as speaking for anybody beyond themselves and their immediate follows - nor do I accept their grandiose posturing as fact, when so often, it reflects propaganda for recruitment. Weak leaders need to look strong more than anything else - so attacking someone far away is a useful device to create that appearance and recruit prospects (especially if Europe closes its doors to refugees the way America largely has - much easier to recruit them when they're in camps in Syria and Turkey, rather than serving wieners in Germany).

donzelion said...

@Rob H - does anyone really think Trump would select Cruz as his VP? After all, Cruz is a naturalized American. That's sort of been Trump's calling card issue for almost a decade. He'd be more likely to go with Rubio, Carson, or even Jeb - or someone else entirely.

I've seen others positing a contested primary resulting in a Ryan candidacy - but I remain quite skeptical. Why bother? So what if three justices are coming up for retirement - two are liberals, and one's a swing voter, and really, who cares? To an oligarch, the most important prize is privatizing social security - the single greatest mass of wealth they've never been able to get their paws on. Everything else is theater.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Robert

"Cruz is calling for some scenario that was passed in 2012 that could prevent Kasich from being on the floor if he doesn't win a plurality in eight states in the case of a contested convention."

It's one of the rules the party came up with, ironically in order to avoid the spectre of a brokered convention. Cruz' case is solid, or at least as solid as anything can be at a political convention.

The GOP have to choose between two totally unelectable candidates, or a convention rebellion. At this point, I would guess they will have a rebellion. It's a political disaster, but at least they can salvage something long term.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "But the easiest way to get much larger numbers than 1-3% of the electorate to not vote is to spread "A pox on both your houses!" rhetoric: convince enough people that they're all corrupt and incompetent, that there's no hope, that the game is fixed and the good guys lost and will always lose. That knocks out 40-50% of the electorate, making oligarchy far easier to sustain."

But it creates a dangerous flaw in the oligarchy stranglehold: now you can have a Robespierre, or a Stalin, or a Pol Pot, or a Xiang Yu climbing on a soap box, shouting "The Power That Be are all corrupt and incompetent, that the game is fixed, the good guys lost and will always lose unless all the aristocrats and their lackeys, from the drooling newborns to the senile elders, are exterminated", and more importantly being listened to by growing audiences.
When there's no hope, when the choice is between the certainty of a slow agony or the tiny chance of a vengeful catharsis, that's when a lot of seemingly docile and peaceful plebeians turn into ruthless killers and force the wealthy dynasties to face their own extinction.

***

* "Saudi schools do NOT promote restoration of the caliphate - for the simple reason that the Saudi royal family would be ineligible to assume that role as they're not part of the prophet's immediate tribe"

Neither was the house of Osman: they just happened to have the guns, canons, warships, military engineers, territories, money... than anyone who may have wanted to contest their claims to the Caliphate: the Ultima Ratio Regum also works very well in theological debates, that's why Richelieu coined the term during the 30 years war.

But I agree with you insofar as I don't think the house of Saud wants to restore the Caliphate: I suspect they are peddling Caliphate nostalgia for the same reason french right-wingers (and Christopher Lee's metal band) are fetichizing the Carolingian dynasty: these regimes are remembered as powerful and dreaded by their enemies: reminding people of their existence is a cheap and easy way to inspire pride by proxy ("We are the descendants and heirs to a mighty race!") and maintain tribal loyalties (or sell metal albums)

Deuxglass said...

Alfred Differ,

You said “I just don't see the connection for hopeful voters between Sanders and Trump. Sanders is a nice guy and persuasive. Trump is persuasive, but all over the map concerning what he wants you to believe. Sanders isn't and I don't think Sander's supporters are so foolish as to miss that fact.”

This is my perception and I may be wrong so I would appreciate it if you can point out flaws in my reasoning.

Both Sanders and Trump are “anti-establishment” candidates so a small part of this electorate could switch votes from one to the other as a protest vote against Washington elites. Even if only a few percent they might be enough to make the difference.

More importantly, in this election, two issues are salient and they are employment and its connection to trade and health care. The electorate sees these as paramount and urgent and both Sanders and Trump make these two issues their principle axes and when you look into it they are much closer together than they are apart. Both want to tear up and radically rebuild the trade/jobs problem and the health care system. Sander’s plan is to go to single-payer and Trump wants to go to single-buyer but neither one wants to just tweak Obamacare. The same thing goes for the trade and jobs issue. They are close together in what the electorate wants to be done.

Sanders of course has much more credibility since he has a consistent track record on both these issues as well as rating high on integrity. Trump has no track record and so voters will just have to go on what he says he will do but under the right conditions, voters could take his word on these two very important subjects. It really depends against whom he would be running.

Cruz cannot change his stance either on trade or on healthcare. It just isn’t in the Republican Party’s DNA. Hillary Clinton has the same problem. She just cannot rip up Obamacare and start over after having supported it and she cannot now say she is against the trade treaties because her voting record isn’t consistent with her new position thereby putting into question her credibility. Both are stuck supporting positions that the majority of voters reject.

If Trump is the Republican candidate, he could get enough of this swing vote to beat Hillary. Enough voters could give him the benefit of doubt since they know that Clinton is unlikely to address these two issues decisively. It just takes a few percent to make the difference. If Cruz were to win the Republican candidacy then Sanders would win easily because he would be the only one who convincingly can show that he knows what the problems are and how to fix them. In Trump vs Sanders, Sanders would win because he is more credible than Trump on these two issues as well as being so much better when it comes to integrity and trust. He would attract those who like what Trump says on trade and health but are put-off by his personality.

To sum it up, you could get some Trump voters flowing to Sanders. You might get some reverse flow going to Trump albeit to a lesser degree. Either flow might be enough to tip the scale in a close election. If neither Trump nor Sanders are candidates then we get into a situation where nothing will change except that there will be a large number of very dissatisfied voters.

If Clinton is the candidate, the Democrat Party can pull it off if it adapts strong planks on those two issues as well as student debt. Then they have a good chance of winning but only if those planks are convincing. This is where I see Sanders using his influence backed by his delegates to ram through a solid program addressing these issues. The Republicans can’t do that because Trump even if he did come close to the nomination has close to zero influence in the party. The Democrats would handily win.

raito said...

LarryHart,

You didn't say otherwise. My comment was agreement. I'm sorry if I gave some other impression.

Midboss57 said...

And hence Laurent Weppe sums up the appeal of Donald Trump, the Taliban, the FN.....
There's a good article published yesterday on the Huff Post connected to the latest corruption scandal that made a very good case of how corruption promoted unstable political situations and terrorism as a result. In Afghanistan for example, even the Taliban are getting some popular support because at least for all their many many faults they're not as corrupt as the current government.
The thing is, while the article concentrated on Third World Countries, the recent successes of populist movements in the West is evidence that the same phenomena is happening too (albeit less explodey so far). People are now moving from the old "Lets pick the lesser of two evils" mentality to a another one: "Lets pick the evil that promises to smite our enemies."
I suspect a significant fraction of Trump's supporters comes from people with this mentality rather than just old fashion racists/sexists... (although these people obviously exists in numbers) A good chunk probably have nothing specific against non whites/women/foreigners.... they just see them as acceptable collateral damage in their quest to overthrow a system that is screwing them.
I fear that unless the political class changes course and gets its **** together, we are going to see more and more of that mentality arising.

locumranch said...



Locum providing links to the REAL ID Act 2005:


https://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/real-id-act-text.pdf

https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs


Remember that it is not the idea of REAL ID that many find objectionable, but the many ways that such IDs will (and could) be used & misused by a surveillance state, as those without REAL ID (which includes those who reside in California & the other 27 non-compliant US States) will lose Freedom of Movement & other yet to be determined basic civil rights.


Best

Pixelshim said...

I love the (mostly) polite debate on this site. Thank you David

David Brin said...

Thanks pixelshim. One of the oldest and best and least troll-polluted venues on the web.

donzel the genealogy thing is silly if you think in generations. They just have to weave a qualified family into theirs by marriage. And the dreamy nostalgia for olden times is EXACTLY how you create a fertilized bed to plant seeds. Seeds that sprouted TOO SOON in Osama and in Daesh. Whillickers man, pay attention! Sing the song Caliphatin’ Dreamin’ and look at the actual actual actual effects of those schools, which have been too rapid for the princes’ long plan.

Seriously, this is zero sum. They have to aim for caliphate and a crash of the west. Now just for revanchist reasons but because if the West stays strong and alluring, eventually their memes will lose dominance even in the homeland and their girls will get uppity, or leave.

“does anyone really think Trump would select Cruz as his VP?” Not anymore. He’ll try for Ryan and fail.

The towering question is whether there will be a 3rd party run. By Trump if he loses the nom. By the Bushites if Trump does get the nom. The rationalization of the latter would be to get disenchanted regular republicans to come to the polls and save down-ticket republicans.

David Brin said...

Best April fools joke: http://www.nj.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/04/donald_trump_drops_out_watch_april_fools_video.html

Others include jerky made from resurrected extinct animals and Esurance insurance against bad election results sending you to Canada. Spray a TV on your wall? I like the Actual Reality Headset and self-driving bicycle. Especially the smart phone app from OpenTable that lets you taste sample a restaurant's food by licking the screen. That one is choice. Not so much the condom recycling program. Waffle House has not begun delivering. (Rats.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2016/04/01/a-comprehensive-updating-and-upsetting-list-of-2016s-april-fools-day-hoaxes/

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

When there's no hope, when the choice is between the certainty of a slow agony or the tiny chance of a vengeful catharsis, that's when a lot of seemingly docile and peaceful plebeians turn into ruthless killers and force the wealthy dynasties to face their own extinction.


That's the part I don't understand about the oligarchic personality. It would cost so little (relatively speaking) to give the citizenry enough of a stake in the status quo that they wouldn't bother to rock the boat. And yet, there seems to be a personality type among the .01% that absolutely recoils at such a course. Instead, they'll spend billions on police weaponry and private armies to prevent hungry, cold, desperate people from accessing the means of survival.

Modern day corporations have the same blind spot. It costs relatively little in "non-monetary compensation" to make workers happy enough with their jobs that they'll work hard to keep them. Instead, companies refuse even the smallest of kindnesses, preferring instead to lock down everything in procedures designed to prevent the inevitably-disguntled workers from doing intentional harm.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

“does anyone really think Trump would select Cruz as his VP?” Not anymore. He’ll try for Ryan and fail.


Isn't the idea that if Cruz plays spoiler enough to throw the nomination to the second ballot and they pick someone like Ryan, then that candidate will select Cruz as veep? Because Cruz can't possibly think they'd nominate him.


The towering question is whether there will be a 3rd party run. By Trump if he loses the nom. By the Bushites if Trump does get the nom. The rationalization of the latter would be to get disenchanted regular republicans to come to the polls and save down-ticket republicans.


Also to throw the election to the House of Representatives, who would choose the establishment Republican, even if he came in third in electoral votes. Of course, that presumes that Trump and Jeb/Ryan/whoever could take states away from Hillary rather than just from each other.



The towering question is whether there will be a 3rd party run. By Trump if he loses the nom. By the Bushites if Trump does get the nom. The rationalization of the latter would be to get disenchanted regular republicans to come to the polls and save down-ticket republicans.

LarryHart said...

oops. that last repetition was not intentional.

matthew said...

I am hearing more and more talk from people supporting Trump because he will "tear the system down." I've already seen several people (who I know are not paid trolls - people I actually know in person) from the "Anyone But Clinton" camp say that they will vote Trump over Clinton for exactly this reason. "Tear the System down."

I'm tempted to take them at their word. I believe that many of my fellow Americans would relish the chance to kill and kill and kill their neighbors, Pol Pot-style. I'm starting to suspect that it may be really coming. I think the most pernicious symptom is the Dominionist and Oathkeeper movements in politics / the military. Many of the loudest voices I hear lobbying for "tear the system down" are former or current military, and not all enlisted men, either. The religious see the apocalypse, the racist see a second Civil War, the survivalists see a chance to eat all their hoarded can goods and lord it over their neighbors.

I suspect blood in the streets at both the party conventions this summer. Here's hoping I'm wrong.

Jumper said...

I hate to tell you but April Fools was yesterday.

Jumper said...

Matthew, there are a majority who will do a lot to make sure those destroyers will die or go to prison if they try that.
But brains aren't their strong suit.

David Brin said...

LH: “Isn't the idea that if Cruz plays spoiler enough to throw the nomination to the second ballot and they pick someone like Ryan, then that candidate will select Cruz as veep? Because Cruz can't possibly think they'd nominate him.”

Yes of course that must be Cruz’s current plan, even if it sends Donald and his supporters into the streets and a 3rd party. The real question is, if DT gets the nom and the Cheney-ite masters decide to do a 3rd party run for the sake of the down ticket, do they armtwist Ryan into running and thus ruin him? I’d wager instead on some gop governor…

In which case Cruz as VP on THAT ticket? There are tradeoffs. Big time. The down-ticket pols will owe him! Yet the Republican Party would be finished in its present form.

It’s just not possible to overstate how much this election is about state houses.

“I am hearing more and more talk from people supporting Trump because he will "tear the system down.””

Freaking ingrate jerks. What is this, The Great Depression? 1933 Germany? 1917 Russia? Lame-ass whiners regurgitating Murdoch fed anger koolaid amid a mostly pretty good nation in mostly pretty good time… DESPITE gopper destruction of any chance of actual governance.

These twits are cornered by the plain fact that they have been supporting a wretched-horror-awful side and cannot bring themselves to admit that the other side is not as bad. Hence ALL politics is eeeeevil!

Give us a Congress filled with adults and we’d be unleashed. Adults. All we need. Including adult conservatives.

Tacitus for Congress!

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

“I am hearing more and more talk from people supporting Trump because he will "tear the system down.””

Freaking ingrate jerks. What is this, The Great Depression? 1933 Germany? 1917 Russia? Lame-ass whiners regurgitating Murdoch fed anger koolaid amid a mostly pretty good nation in mostly pretty good time… DESPITE gopper destruction of any chance of actual governance.


I'm becoming more and more convinced that a not-insignificant segment of the American public thinks they are living in a movie. Specifically, an action thriller. And they expect the "plot" to follow the formula.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Matthew, Dr Brin,
The "blood on the streets" scenario is one of the reasons that I didn't become an American,
Yes - the American situation is not THAT bad - but history show us that it's NOT the downtrodden peasants who rebel
It's the not so downtrodden who think that they have been robbed that rebel - the Czar had already gone when Lenin led the rebellion against the Duma

I think it's possible - not likely - but possible enough for me to want my family to be somewhere else

Robert said...

Dr. Brin. I thought you liked Tacitus and considered him... if not a friend, then a worthy foe.

How could you wish such a horrible fate on any-- oh wait. It's April 1st.

Obviously you were joking...

Rob H.

Alfred Differ said...

Meh.

'tis the season to get one's panties in a twist.

Maybe David's century start marker is just a little late in arriving. 8)

Seriously, though, I suspect the GOP will survive this. There will be some shuffling of deck chairs, of course, but they will manage. I was advised to think of them as 50 state-level parties that can flex and shift and not as a monolith that can crack. They survived what Ron Paul tried to do. They'll survive Trump AND Cruz.

Alfred Differ said...

In the category of “The World Goes On”: (From Stratfor)

News snippet: Along Libya's western coast, 10 cities announced that they will no longer support the rebel government in Tripoli but will now support the U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), AFP reported April 1.

Belarus forecast: 1) Following the lifting of EU sanctions against Belarus, Minsk will increase economic and political ties with the West. 2) Belarus will continue to soften its centralized, autocratic structure, albeit at a measured pace, to attract Western interest and investment during its economic slowdown. 3) Despite improved ties with the West, Belarus will not abandon its security relationship with Russia, which will grow more complicated.

Egypt Forecast: There is a higher threat of social unrest in Egypt in the second quarter than there was in the first quarter because of the country's severe dollar shortage and import interruptions. On the heels of currency devaluation, Egypt will also experience a rise in inflation. We expect to see greater counterinsurgency training and a surge of security forces in the Rafah-El Arish-Sheikh Zuweid triangle to counter increasing militancy in the Sinai Peninsula.

Sometimes one has to stop and look around to realize a short-lived frenzy for what it is.

David Brin said...

George Friedman (Stratfor) is a mixed bag. Some of his reflexes (always everything is "balance of power" ad nauseam) are too rigid. But for news like Libya, he's got great contacts.

I have been puzzled why Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt have not stepped in, subsidized by Europe who will benefit if Libyan human trafficking stopped.

Belarus? Lies, all lies.

Tacitus2 said...

"Tacitus for Congress!"

Mrs. T wields a veto power that cannot be over ridden by any application of political force.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

@Tacitus2

Sarcastic response: "What kind of 'congress' did you think Dr Brin was talking about?"

Serious response: "That's why there aren't any candidates that you and I really like."

Alfred Differ said...

Yah. You have to take Stratfor material in terms of its context. They focus on geopolitical actions thus talk as if nations were live creatures. There is some usefulness in this perspective, but it is easy to go overboard into a Hobbes-ian view.

From this perspective, the big trading companies that emerged when Europe developed deep-water navigation were potential tools of their nations in the effort to achieve geopolitical objectives. It's not hard to see some truth in this with respect to the big traders in India, but one can carry the analogy too far and miss the opportunity for the tail to wag the dog.

I did just read an interesting tidbit over there, though. They pointed out that China had made a demand of Apple earlier for backdoors regarding encryption. Apple said NO. Fast forward to the recent event where our FBI wanted something similar where Apple declined again. If we choose to force it, we'd be establishing a precedent for the Chinese to use in the future, right? That sheds interesting light upon the FBI's recent statement backing off their request when they said they got into that phone without Apple's help.

Robert said...

Interestingly, Larry, Mrs. Sanders was the deciding factor on his run for the Presidency. And he only was given the go when a veteran ran into the two of them in Vermont and thanked him for all the hard work he's done for veterans.

No doubt if someone said something similar in person to Tacitus and his wife and urged him to run so that decency and reason could return to Washington, she'd run a background check, find the man was a ringer who works for Dr. Brin, and tell him "don't even think it."

After all, we all know Dr. Brin has a wide range of agents working for him in his efforts to ensure the world become a better place. ;)

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

Oh, I can see it now.

"Mr. Tacitus, please explain to us about the Kool Whip......and the Monkeys".

T

Alfred Differ said...

To which you reply: "Don't you wish your spouse was so cool." 8)


Mine would throw my stuff on the lawn and change the locks if I got into politics. Understandable too.

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

Jay Ogilvy is a funny guy:

https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/trumpism-without-trump

(Near the middle of the essay)

After globalization's economic squeeze on the middle class, after the racism and xenophobia the squeeze brings out, and after the shift from the Political Era to the Economic Era, there is another factor that explains Trump ascendency: A certain psychosexual dynamic that's more complex than your grandfather's sexism. After all, as he'll tell you again and again, Donald loves women.

But the remarks! The denigration of Megyn Kelly! And the macho toleration for roughing up demonstrators! Once again, the important thing to focus on is not so much the man with the baton at the head of the parade, but all those who are so attracted by his outrageous incorrectness. And what we find when we look not at the drum major but at his followers is the emasculation of the middle-class American male.

Several factors add up and reinforce one another: Anxious about the economy and unemployment, threatened by immigrants, frustrated at the lack of efficacy on the part of the leadership in Washington, and fed up with feminism, the blue-collar American male is a ripe target for testosterone-soaked rhetoric. "Make America Potent Again!" and pass the political Viagra.


Okay. I can feel a bit more sympathy for locumranch now. 8)

Paul SB said...

Larry,

I saw this statement from you up above

"That's the part I don't understand about the oligarchic personality. It would cost so little (relatively speaking) to give the citizenry enough of a stake in the status quo that they wouldn't bother to rock the boat. And yet, there seems to be a personality type among the .01% that absolutely recoils at such a course. Instead, they'll spend billions on police weaponry and private armies to prevent hungry, cold, desperate people from accessing the means of survival."

and I thought that you are making a classic mistake in understanding your fellow hominid (as an aside, the autocorrect tried to turn /hominid/ into /homie/ - if you have any doubt that certain standards of civilization have slipped their moorings). You are assuming that they are rational. There is a bit of a back story to what they call "rational actor models." Before the end of the 19th C, people in the West pretty much assumed that anyone who was not Western was stupid and irrational. It was justification for exploitation, even to the point of enslavement. But things started to turn in the 20th C, in part because of Franz Boas and Alfred Kroeber (the father of Ursula LeGuin), who showed that non-Western people behaved the way they did to help them survive in their environments. This led to today's rational actor models, which have been around long enough to sink into the general culture.

But the rational actor assumption is not shared by the upper classes. They are still largely operating on the assumption that the only rational people are themselves - the rich. It's not just foreigners or savages who are inferior, it's any social class other than your own. In the U.S. we have that myth of upward social mobility, which perpetuates the irrational actor models of the old nobility in the guise of supposed meritocracy (if you're smart and work hard, you will get rich - therefore if you are not rich, it's because you are dumb and lazy - a logic which says a lot about the racial memescape of this country).

Yes, the wealthy would be better off sharing some of their wealth with the rest of humankind. They would get a lot less grief, and if more humans had more money, they would be spending it on products controlled by the rich. But this logic escapes huge numbers of people, who have grown up to believe that their fellow hominids belong in broad categories that determine their worth as human beings. of course the are not going g to share their wealth with the unwashed masses! Structural inferiors don't deserve their charity because they are too stupid and lazy to earn wealth in the first place.

Of course, the lower classes have their own sets of unflattering assumptions about the upper crusts, too. But just as there are Silicon Valley millionaires who get that spreading the wealth lifts all boats, including their own, many among us unwashed masses are smart enough to get it - though not connected enough to get rich.

Paul SB said...

And now for something completely different ...

Since there are a fair number of engineers here, I thought I would mention that my daughter brought home a movie last night in which the hero was an engineer. If you haven't seen Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" it is essentially a biopic (with some fanciful dream sequences) about an aeronautic engineer in the 1930s. Since the hero was an engineer who designs airplanes rather than the more typical heroic pilot, it was a bit slow. Still, it inspired my son, whose teacher has been telling the auties to expect to become engineering geniuses when they grow up, to get off the video games for awhile and work on building some skills. The movie has all the usual charm of Miyazaki's usual stuff, though like I said, it is slower than most.

Okay, not science fiction cinema, but at least it's a break from poly-ticks.

David Brin said...

Oh I am contrary all right. Immigration is the OPPOSITE of what every politician and media pundit says, in almost every way: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/07/the-immigration-fury-one-of-many.html

And globalization has not hurt US workers all that much but it has uplifted two BILLION people outside the US. And that uplift of Mexico, in particular, is a geopolitical accomplishment that we should be crowing victory cries over! It is the most important news that no one in America even knows about and it made NAFTA utterly utterly a plus for us.

I do not know any details about TPP except that it forces the signers to improve rule of law, labor, environmental and IP behavior. And that it pisses China off royally. But based on NAFTA, I will lean toward support.

Paul SB said...

Alfred, no, no sympathy. Understanding does not require it. If these fools have to feel threatened by freedom for half the species, how are they any better than the Taliban? They could use their testosterone to fuel accomplishment, but no, they would rather scream and throw punches like playground bullies. Sick the Daleks on 'em!

Paul SB said...

Back to poly-ticks, what Dr. Brin said above about Mexico is a case-in-point for what I was writing to Larry about the memescape overcoming rationality. In the U.S. we have had stereotypes about Mexico for a long time. They are treated as structural inferiors, so the idea of uplifting them seems like a terrible injustice to many people, who have stereotyped them exactly the same way they stereotype our internal inferiors - as dumb and lazy.

Alfred Differ said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB: I'll have to try that movie out on my autie and see what he thinks. 8)


Ogilvy went on to point out that the parade is heading backward relative to the forces of change and that no one is going to stop those forces short of an extinction level event. It was a fun read. I could hear Locumranch's talking points regarding feminization set in perspective like I couldn't hear before.

I'm not sure half the species wants that freedom, but they are going to get it anyway. We don't need agricultural behavioral norms anymore.

Regarding Mexico, I still remember sitting at a café in Mexico with an American and two Canadians while our Senate debated NAFTA. It was a perfect set-up for the Mexican waiter to ask us what we thought and whether it would pass. My US friend shrugged. My Canadian friends pointed at us suggesting it would go which ever way the crazy Americans wanted. I got to tell him it need not matter. All the Mexicans had to do was open up unilaterally and our companies would go to bat for them with the Senate. There was money to be made and that was what made our politics. Ignore the smoke and look for the smoke-filled rooms.

I'm not so sure we uplifted them. We did do one right thing, though, along with a whole bunch of other things that only time will tell. Now I have a niece and nephew who are at home on either side of the border. I find it difficult to see family members as structurally inferior for some reason. 8)

Anabelle said...

Note U.S./Mexico per capita G.D.P. ratio was lower(more in Mexico's favor) in 1993 than 2013. This may be why nobody is claiming a great victory in uplifting Mexico.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Dr Brin said
"I do not know any details about TPP except that it forces the signers to improve rule of law, labor, environmental and IP behavior"

The trouble from my point of view is that it will make us (NZ)go backwards on all of those fronts - and even worse it will mean that we cannot progress on those fronts until the USA does - which may be a LONG time

The USA is such a funny place - in some things you lead the world
In too many others you seem to be nearly 100 years behind

Paul SB said...

Alfred,

" I find it difficult to see family members as structurally inferior for some reason"

Good attitude, though I have to confess that I think of one of my brothers in those terms - not a STRUCTURAL inferior, but not the sharpest tool in the shed ... Come to think of it, the other brother is quite smart, but something of a lazy bum. Good thing neither of them know about this blog.

I didn't know about the change in GDP ratio. The question to ask here is, have their lives gotten worse across the border, or does this have to do with that shrinking middle class phenomenon.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I do not know any details about TPP except that it forces the signers to improve rule of law, labor, environmental and IP behavior. And that it pisses China off royally.


It doesn't worry you that the current Republican congress is all for it--to the extent that it is the one exception to the rule as far as not giving President Obama a victory?

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

While I'm "here", may I ask you a question regarding "Kiln People"?

I can usually get the puns and other wordplay that you lace your books with, but I'm clueless on your repeated use of the spelling "zingleminded" with a z. Can you at least give a hint?

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - "the genealogy thing is silly if you think in generations."

They've been thinking in generations for 250 years, but the tribal identity can only transfer through the paternal line (change that, and you change fundamentals of the faith, as understood by Wahhabis).

Laurent actually offered a clue: the Ottomans asserted their authority to be Caliphs, and the Wahhabis arose to repudiate that authority. Wahhabi doctrine consists largely of rejecting Ottoman authority (and Egyptian, Iraqi, and others) - Wahhabis labeled them all apostates for permitting shrines and other innovations to infect Islam. For 250 years, they've rejected all claims of anyone being an authentic Caliph.

That repudiation is remarkably self-serving. To the Wahhabis, a "true" Caliph is acknowledged by all Muslims (from the Philippines to Nigeria, and beyond). Thus, the Saudi family may serve as kings and "custodians" of the holy mosques - ruling as regents up to the point that a caliph emerges (and given the requirement of nearly unanimous acknowledgment, that's a looong ways off...generations, in fact).

That said, while Wahhabis and Saudis do "yearn for the return of the Caliphate" - they are not thinking of Daesh - any more than Christians, who call for the "Kingdom of God" on Earth wish to crown Trump or Cruz as "King" in any literal sense. Daesh, in asserting their claim to the Caliphate, are invoking a Hanafi tradition (which is a much more common legal tradition, and one explicitly rejected by Wahhabis). To an outsider, it looks like dickering over terms - but then again, to an outsider looking at factions among Christians, Orthodox and Catholic fought for millennia over which side of the body should be crossed first.

It's helpful to bear all that in mind. If you think the Saudis will ever back the Daesh, you're believing something about as farfetched as the Orthodox Christians acknowledging the Pope and converting to Catholicism...theoretically possible...but...pretty fanciful.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "globalization has not hurt US workers all that much..."

It's perhaps best to refine the concept of globalization into two distinct forms:

Competitive globalization - trade in which the players operate through 'thick' rules (like NAFTA) - enriches Americans, who are perfectly capable of competing with Mexicans. This is the tradition of Smith: competition, but with rules, transparency, fairness.

Oligarchic globalization - trade in which elites operate through power (a much older, more common, and recurring form of globalization - the globalization that financed the slave trade, colonial enterprises, and more recently, most of the U.S.-China trade) - hurts American workers, who are intentionally pushed aside to empower rentier enterprises.

Once you see that there are two totally distinct types of globalization (one based on productivity and competition to produce effectively, and another based on power and the ability to extract rent regardless of production) - much starts to make sense. The TPP, like NAFTA, works by rules - and Americans are imminently capable of competing against anyone when there are rules in the game - but when powerful Americans profit from selling out their countrymen, they'll do so in a heartbeat, as oligarchs have always done.

donzelion said...

@Duncan re the TPP - see my comments to Dr. Brin if you want to know my context, but I don't think NZ will go backwards, or be retarded in terms of labor, environmental, or other progressive priorities should the TPP come into existence.

You won't be able to strategically discriminate against American (or Japanese or Korean et. al.) firms - but then again, I suspect, you try pretty hard not to do that already, simply because that sort of discrimination is unfair.

But though I suspect Kiwis (and Aussies and many other participants) try not to erect unfair rules, we all err, sometimes by simple mistake, more often, by politicians looking to game the system to protect preferred 'friends' (most often, oligarchs). The benefit of the treaty is that should that happen, there's an arbitration mechanism (rather than a political one of threatening/intimidating another power). More often, if you've rules that are better than ours (as may indeed be the case in several fields), you'll actively drive useful changes in America (we have lots of knuckleheads, but some of us are willing to learn).

donzelion said...

@Larry - re the Republican endorsement of the TPP -

You're thinking of 'mainstream' Republican establishment. Tea Partiers and Republican radicals (e.g. Cruz) are generally hostile toward multilateral treaties.

Prominent corporations (and their lobbying coalitions) consistently support the TPP. Oligarchs, who own those corporations, are still calculating the costs/benefits: will they earn more money through increased productivity that comes with broadened fair trade, or will they earn more money through increased rents that come with broadened unfair trade? They'll want to postpone any decision until after they've made their moves and evaluated the actual affects on their own fortunes. So whatever happens, expect this to be delayed (despite 'fast track').

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Donzelion
We will immediately have to go backwards to match the US laws on IP,

You guys have longer periods and you can patent some stuff that we can't (and should not be able to)

The reason that the GOP likes the TPP is that it is a rentiers charter - all it will do is to encourage "rental" behavior

donzelion said...

@Matthew - re the "Tear the System down" (or "take a chainsaw to the government" refrains, from 6 years ago) - I get the rhetoric, but don't see a Pol Pot scenario in America. I know the Dominionists/Oathkeepers here well (again, following crazies - both Christian and Muslim - has been a focus of mine for a long time) - but honestly, the "kill and kill" routine is more easily served by simply rolling up the social safety net and transferring assets locked into that system to their friends.

Instead of "blood in the streets" - think "bums in the streets" (so long as the smarter ones in their circle get into gated community vaults first). Instead of Pol Pot style "kill 'em all" - just cut food stamps, and starve the "lazy" (so long as the churches can still feed the faithful with government subsidies, in exchange for buying their faith with bread). Instead of subsidized education debts, reinstate indentured servitude (through 30-year 'education mortgages' - so long as their own children can bypass that through debt arbitrage).

Nobody can say what will happen in terms of violence, but the Right has many options to achieve ends similar to what you're describing using means that are far less extreme. Indeed, in some cases, unless repairs are made, there's a natural drift towards collapse in any institution designed to care for those who cannot care for themselves (the sick, the elderly, the young) - all they need do, in many instances, is scream loudly enough to prevent the duct tape from being applied that may be necessary.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

@Larry - re the Republican endorsement of the TPP -

You're thinking of 'mainstream' Republican establishment. Tea Partiers and Republican radicals (e.g. Cruz) are generally hostile toward multilateral treaties


I was thinking of Republican congresspeople

For eight years (even the two when all they could do to Dems was filibuster), they've worked to deny President Obama anything. Except this one thing, on which they are enthusiastically in favor of granting extra power to that same President Obama.

And I wasn't calling them hypocrites or anything. My point was that if TPP is of such outsided interest to those congressional Republicans, that's a reason to be suspicious of TPP. That's all.

Paul451 said...

Re: Trump's VP,
He will not pick an established Republican politician like Ryan, nor a major Primary rival like Cruz. Will not happen. Not in his psychological make-up.

Re: Clinton's VP,
Clinton will not ask Sanders. Dems don't work that way.

Re: Trump third party run,
If Trump loses by a straight candidate count, he won't run as a third party candidate. He'd look like poor loser and his base would abandon him, and image-of-success is his primary asset. (It's why he sued Forbes for not saying he was as rich as he claimed. It's why he lives in a yuge building with his own name in 50 foot high letters... which he doesn't own. Flies in a yuge private jet painted with his own name... which he leases.)

If, otoh, he loses in a Convention deal that puts up Ryan or someone else... he might run. And he'd take the vast bulk of the Republican base with him, including people who voted against him in the Primaries. I suspect he'd come second, behind Clinton.

Such a "fix" would be the only thing that could finally break the rusted-on Republican loyalty.

David,
Re: Rest of the Republican establishment third party run,

No. Not a thing that can happen. Without the rusted-on Republican tribal loyalty, they have no support, no base. They would get fewer votes than the Libertarian Party.

And they know it.

They'll make like Christie and genuflect to their new master; hoping to later subvert him to their cause. (He is, after all, one of them, however gauche.)

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"My point was that if TPP is of such outsided interest to those congressional Republicans, that's a reason to be suspicious of TPP."

My enemy's friend...

donzelion,
Re: Saying "Daesh"

Meh. It always comes across as "Look at me being clever" wankerism.

(Like the whole thing with calling Trump "Drumpf" (his grandfather's name). John Oliver doing it on one episode to make a point about immigration is one thing, a herd of me-too lefty wankers running around the internet copying it because they too are "original and clever", eh not so much.)

Midboss57,
"People are now moving from the old "Lets pick the lesser of two evils" mentality to a another one: "Lets pick the evil that promises to smite our enemies." "

"Vote Cthulhu. Why chose the lesser evil?" was meant to be a joke.

Paul451 said...

Re: Unisex bathrooms... for some reason...

Interesting that Tacitus2, with only sons, is Concerned About unisex bathrooms because "what about daughters". But LarryHart, who actually has a daughter, is comfortable with them. Small scale echo of the red-state hysteria about teh terrists!, in spite of never being a target, versus the blue-state stoicism, in spite of being the only targets.

But slightly more seriously, unisex bathrooms are easy to design and I'm surprised they aren't more common. (After all, we each have them in our homes.) You just move the "point of privacy". Single sex bathrooms are designed with the "point of privacy" being the entrance to the area encompassing all of the stalls, common area and wash basins. Within this wide area, the stalls themselves only have token privacy, and, in men's bathrooms, urinals have none. And that's what scares people like Tacitus2, you are letting the opposite sex beyond that point of privacy, and that's the only real barrier. But that's not how you make successful unisex bathrooms.

For a unisex bathroom, you simply move the "point of privacy" to the stalls (as you generally do in your home). The stalls would thus have proper doors, individual lighting, decent ventilation, and ideally be self-cleaning. (Making the stalls slightly larger also helps, so they can be used for those last-resort "this is not the place I'd prefer to be doing this, but I need privacy" activities. Minds out of the gutter, I mean things like having to change at an airport.) The common and wash-basin area would actually have be a more obvious part of the general public space, limited to token partitioning from the wider facility. (I've seen this in some homes, the wash basin open to the hall, only the toilet-proper behind a door.

The same would be true of unisex change-rooms and showers at schools/gyms/etc. You simply move the privacy to the individual spaces where it's needed. Individual shower stalls, individual changing areas. The lockers/etc can be made common, unisex and more open.

(I suspect such bathrooms/change-rooms would make a lot of people more comfortable, not less.)

Aside: I did find it interesting that when scrabbling for a "forcing your views down our throats" equivalent to open-carry, the only thing people can find for liberals is unisex bathrooms. I mean, what else is there? "What if Democrats were forced to refrain from screaming abuse at minorities, hey? How would you like to be forced to live by your own rules?!"

Still:
Tacitus2 for Congress? To paraphrase a great historian, "We've had worse Congressmen." Actually, you have worse Congressmen.

"Vote Tacitus2, a robot in every garage."

Deuxglass said...

I don't believe in the "blood on the streets" scenario but if things do get worse we will see demonstrations, marches boycotts and other forms of protest. Hopefully our democracy will react in a positive way and channel this discontent into the political process as it has in the past. What I fear is that some individuals and groups will take a violent turn and start targeting political elites and oligarchs personally. Europe saw quite a bit of this type of terrorism in the 70's and 80's such as Action Directe, the CCC, First October, the Baader-Meinhof Group, the Red Brigades and several others. Other variations are still active in third-world countries around the world. Their inspiration was Communist and often started as protest movements against oligarchs in their own countries. In Europe, some of the founders came from the elites themselves.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

Interesting that Tacitus2, with only sons, is Concerned About unisex bathrooms because "what about daughters". But LarryHart, who actually has a daughter, is comfortable with them.


As I've said ad nauseum, I used to frequent a message board devoted to Dave Sim and his "Cerebus" comic book. Dave was very anti-marriage, anti-feminist, "women suck the life out of productive males", and many of the fellow posters on that list were in general agreement, claiming they wanted nothing to do with marriage. Yet, they were also self-styled conservatives who couldn't speak highly enough about "family values" and the sanctity of marriage (for those who did engage, I mean), and would give all sorts of homilies about proper child rearing.

As one of the few happily married men on that list, and one of the few with an actual child, I often found it amusing to be instructed in marriage and child rearing by self-styled conservatives who intentionally took no part in either institution.

No offense meant to Tacitus, who I sincerely think is coming from a different place.

Paul SB said...

Paul 451,

The unisex bathrooms you describe are very sensical and reasonable. The one stumbling block is the money. The privacy partitions in most restrooms today are cheap, flimsy, and not too difficult for some knucklehead peeping tom to peer into. Traditionally we have always relied on the assumption that no one is interested peering into stalls containing members of the same sex, but that is a bad assumption. If each stall were like a tiny room with no windows of any kind and an effective lock on the door, that would be acceptable - but much more expensive. It would also go a long way toward breaking down some of that ancient sexism that still infests our culture - no more 'smoking in the boys' room.' Any physical location that separates the sexes (just like the old "separate but equal" BS of racial discrimination), perpetuates the sexism. All-male groupings tend to get raunchy, as do all-female groupings. There will be some resistance to the unisex lav, of course, but given some of the paranoia in the memescape regarding the LGBT community, the more crusty types might see this as the better alternative.

Paul SB said...

Larry, the examples of Tacitus vs. the Dave Sim followers just shows the futility of stereotyping. There are people on either side of the political fence who are thoughtful, reasonable human beings, and then there are the screaming lunatic extremists who suck up all the oxygen. Unfortunately, the media, and the excitable nature of the human brain, tends to pay much more attention to the screaming lunatic extremists. That puts more of their memes out there, perpetuating their extremism much more effectively than those who are calm and rational. Is there a way to push a radically reasonable agenda out there? Can rational people be militant in promoting sane dialogue?

In the case of Dave Sim, he started out mocking those very same manly stereotypes, but over the years became exactly what he started out ridiculing. I would not have gone anywhere near his writing if it had started with the conclusions he ended up reaching.

Robert said...

A growing number of places are including unisex bathrooms. It's not just for transgendered individuals. It's for dads with young daughters, mothers with young sons, any parent with an infant who needs changing. Or even people with social anxieties who need privacy when going to the bathroom.

It is a matter of cost and space. But there is a counter to that: customer service. A place with a unisex bathroom that caters to parents, along with transgendered individuals and people who suffer social anxieties and need privacy to use the bathroom? They are more likely to return to such stores... and to patronize them. Thus you build a base of return customers. Even at such point that those people might not need that unisex bathroom anymore.

Rob H.

Robert said...

As for Dave Sim, there is a saying: Beware when you fight monsters lest you become one. ;)

Rob H.

Tacitus2 said...

Paul 451

You misunderstand. I am not Concerned and certainly not scared of unisex bathrooms. I mentioned it in passing as a sort of silly thing that if put to the Democrats might make them jump amusingly through a few hoops in explaining themselves. It is less serious than the open carry petition.

I asked LarryH his opinion with sincerity. Having no sisters or daughters my reference points are limited. And it seems to me that generally young people nowadays have different and perhaps conflicting sensibilities.

Paul SB comes closer to the mark. If laws are enacted and/or expanded beyond original intent the costs can be high. Title IX starts with the laudable goal of equalizing funding for women's athletics on campus and has gone much farther in scope.

We should be willing to make the larger community bear a cost for preservation of the interests/rights/feelings? of a smaller or even minuscule group. But how high a cost and for how few? Are there more pre surgery transgendered citizens in this fair land than there are Delta smelt in California? Who knows. But should the Federal government require the expense of unisex bathrooms for public and private places? If we are willing to divert water from California agriculture to accommodate an obscure fish it looks as if question asked and answered for some.

If I really wanted to discomfort the DNC there are a lot of other resolutions you could put to them. Given their history of leaving unpaid bills behind them I would say "Cash up Front" would be practical and tie in well to the concept of fiscal responsibility.

Looking for discussion of the serious issues of the day. Looking....looking...

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

If each stall were like a tiny room with no windows of any kind and an effective lock on the door, that would be acceptable - but much more expensive. It would also go a long way toward breaking down some of that ancient sexism that still infests our culture - no more 'smoking in the boys' room.' Any physical location that separates the sexes (just like the old "separate but equal" BS of racial discrimination), perpetuates the sexism. All-male groupings tend to get raunchy, as do all-female groupings. There will be some resistance to the unisex lav, of course...


Conservatives will see that as one more nanny-state incursion into their freedom to associate with their own kind--one less space where men are allowed to gather freely without girls around. Me, I don't particularly think bathrooms are a good place to gather and socialize in the first place. If not for biological necessity, I'd never get within a city block of a bathroom. But I suppose that's one of those "There are two kinds of people" things.


In the case of Dave Sim, he started out mocking those very same manly stereotypes, but over the years became exactly what he started out ridiculing. I would not have gone anywhere near his writing if it had started with the conclusions he ended up reaching.


Dave is first and foremost an iconoclast--someone who sees ordinary things in ways no one else has thought of. That characteristic survives all of his socio-political stages.

I admire the guy as a writer, and artist, and a motivated creator, despite disagreeing with his political and religious stances. But the irony you note has been commented on--that he'll write a 20-page essay full of anecdotes and stories which slams women for arguing via anecdotes and stories. It would be very clever if he had done that intentionally, but there was no indication that he himself was in on the joke.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

As for Dave Sim, there is a saying: Beware when you fight monsters lest you become one. ;)


Or perhaps, Vonnegut's "You are who you pretend to be, so be careful who you pretend to be."

Good advice for Donald Trump as well.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

If I really wanted to discomfort the DNC there are a lot of other resolutions you could put to them. Given their history of leaving unpaid bills behind them I would say "Cash up Front" would be practical and tie in well to the concept of fiscal responsibility.


And I could see the DNC accepting the challenge as constructive criticism. Whereas I cannot picture the Republicans accepting the "put your money where your mouth is" challenge to allow guns at their events or to admit that there are legitimate reasons to exclude guns from other venues.

Note that my motivation would be to force the latter, not the former. But I think it's legitimate to put the question out there why the organization exempts itself from the ideology it "forces down the throats" of others.

Which does not apply to your example, btw. You're calling out a failing of the DNC and challenging them to behave better at their convention. The creators of the "allow guns" petition are challenging the RNC to live by their own stated ideology. The fact that you equate the two as nothing more than "something embarrassing to the other side" is why we're failing to fully communicate.

Robert said...

I must admit, it would probably be hilarious getting people on Contrary Brin together for a game of Pathfinder. No doubt Dr. Brin would be an Investigator (a combination of alchemist and rogue - think Downey's Sherlock Holmes), using his brains to defeat his foes. Tacitus? Hmm. Possibly a Paladin, or a Cleric. Not for religious reasons but for the protecting people and helping heal them aspect. Larry... either a Wizard or a Sorcerer. Locu would be a Vigilante (new class Paizo just released). Just so he can have two separate personalities and switch between them by putting on a disguise. ;)

Rob H., who tends to run the games instead of play them...

Paul SB said...

Tacitus,

"We should be willing to make the larger community bear a cost for preservation of the interests/rights/feelings? of a smaller or even minuscule group. But how high a cost and for how few?"

That is a sensible question about where lines get drawn. The Americans with Disabilities Act accomplished something very similar back in the 90's. It was expensive and took time, but I think a majority of the country would agree that it was worthwhile - at least those who even think about it. Once something has become normal and routine, it becomes less and less controversial.

"Looking for discussion of the serious issues of the day. Looking....looking..."

Seriously, serious issues are serious business, but sometimes those little trivialities have a seriousness of their own. There is a reason why cultural anthropologists talk so much about "lived experience." Unisex baños seem trivial compared to something like unfunded mandates, but they have a subtle power to shape the day-to-day experiences of our lives. Anything that makes people feel less threatened, makes people more comfortable with their lives, gives them less reason to scapegoat, less distractions and more ability to focus on big issues. Somewhere in one of his books Dr. Brin said something to the effect that only people who have full stomachs become environmentalists. People who have decent jobs and are not struggling just to keep their heads above water are more likely to see big picture issues for what they are.

They say the Devil is in the details, though I would agree with Steven Jay Gould who said both God and the Devil are in the details. If we can't get balanced budgets today, we might still be able to get some incremental improvements (the restrooms being just one of many small things that would help make ours a less "manly" more sane and compassionate culture - though better wages would do much more on that front).

Robert said...

The ADA is actually a very good point.

Let us consider for a moment handicapped ramps. They take up space. They are a bother to construct. They are expensive. And for what, a handful of people in wheelchairs?

Except when you look at the people who use a handicapped ramp, you see parents with young children in strollers. You see people using a cane or a walker. You see older people. You see younger people who just don't want to bother with steps. You see all sorts using these.

Let us consider painting the ends of stairs yellow and adding bumps for blind and low-vision people to easily detect the steps. Except they also come in handy for lower-light situations. All sorts end up benefiting from this improvement.

Technology is crafted to allow books to be spoken using computers, and for blind people to talk and have their words appear on the screen. This has been used in turn for GPS systems, and people who enjoy books on tape. Dictating technology may have put some secretaries out of work but it allows far more people to dictate messages and saves a lot of time (in theory, when it works).

It is funny when you consider it. All these innovations that cost too much and will only help a couple of people... end up helping so many more. People who wouldn't have considered they too might utilize this - and not because they themselves may become disabled at some point, but in everyday life.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

If we can't get balanced budgets today, we might still be able to get some incremental improvements.


The last time we had a balanced budget--a surplus actually--was when Hillary was living in the White House. Just sayin' :)

Tangential thought: If a so-called balanced budget amendment makes so much sense, should it be one-sided against deficits, or should it not also mandate against a budget surplus? "Why should the government hoard our tax dollars?" is as legitimate a question as "Why should the government spend our tax dollars?"

Paul SB said...

Rob, great points. Many people have applied the same logic to the Space Program. I imagine that if we think about it, we can find more places where we get - not unintended consequences but unintended benefits. Small-minded people think in slogans and don't see how things can snowball.

Larry, I would be inclined to agree, except for one thing: it has always been par too common wisdom to put money away 'for a rainy day.' Governor Brown even instituted what he called the "Rainy Day Fund" in California. I would have to concur with this old wisdom, so long as the use of such a rainy day fund (or recession day fund, which could fund the kind of infrastructure projects that would create jobs and inject high-velocity money into a faltering economy during a recession) is well regulated so it does't end up getting raided for pork-barrel projects. But I am open to discussion on this one.

I am not sure just how much of the Clinton Surplus was a result of a booming economy, Clinton's uncommonly wise financial management. Detractors will say he just got lucky, defenders will say it was all about his policies, reasonable people see it as a mixture of both - the issue is how much, and what specific policies had what specific effects.

locumranch said...



The Game has been Rigged:

This is the same increasingly popular & prevalent mindset from which both Trump & Sanders gain their political support, and it applies equally to most of the 'Exalting the Meek' games favoured by Western Society, the problem being that the definition of 'meekness' is both highly mutable & transient.

Once was the Elderly were impoverished, meek, humbled & victimised by the ravages of time, so the social 'we' created the Great Society, Medicare & Social Security to raise them up, and now they are the most wealthy & powerful US demographic existant.

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/planning-to-retire/2008/11/21/3-reasons-baby-boomers-aare-the-richest-generation-in-history

We have tried to do the same with all the other classes that we once & still define as eternal victims -- the impoverished, the disadvantaged, the other, the refugee, the ignorant & the weaker sex -- except for their distinct ABSENCE of MEEKNESS, humility or gratitude.

Not all, but many of those we have lifted-up have become exceedingly ARROGANT, domineering, demanding, abusive & the very antithesis of 'meekness', so much so that the strong & capable have become the New Meek.

This I know too well, as I started a White Knight Paladin, intent on self-sacrifice & noble servitude, only to discover that ENSLAVEMENT to the arrogantly entitled is the be-all & end-all of public service, so much so that the line it is drawn & the curse it is cast, as the present now will later be past, and the social 'we' are long overdue for a major readjustment & Game Change.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ


Best

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

Larry, I would be inclined to agree [on budget surplusses] , except for one thing: it has always been par too common wisdom to put money away 'for a rainy day.' Governor Brown even instituted what he called the "Rainy Day Fund" in California. I would have to concur with this old wisdom, so long as the use of such a rainy day fund (or recession day fund, which could fund the kind of infrastructure projects that would create jobs and inject high-velocity money into a faltering economy during a recession) is well regulated so it does't end up getting raided for pork-barrel projects. But I am open to discussion on this one.


I certainly agree that budget surplusses can be used well. One need look no further than the story of "Joseph and His Amzaing Technicolor Dreamcoat", which I believe was based on a book of some sort. :)

I was making a reducto ad absurdum argument that I believe sounds reasonable if you accept that budget deficits are immoral. After all, deficit spending also has its economic uses, funding the infrastructure necessary to pull out of a recession. I wonder if John Kasich thinks we shouldn't have borrowed money to finance World War II.

As to your last point, I used to be more of a fiscal conservative until I saw that it only leads to the so-called conservative Republican Party raiding the coffers when they get into power. If Reagan taught us that deficits don't matter, Bush/Cheney taught us that surplusses are futile. Alan Greenspan was terrified of what would happen if federal debt disappeared. So the insistence that Democratic administrations don't borrow money is a scam. What they mean is that the credit limit should be kept available for Republicans to use. Feh!


I am not sure just how much of the Clinton Surplus was a result of a booming economy, Clinton's uncommonly wise financial management.


I just think it's funny to point out that what the fiscal conservatives are trying to get back to already happened, and that they were the ones who un-did it all. I'm willing to credit the surplusses of the 90s as being attributable to both luck and gridlock, rather than to any great planning on Bill Clinton's part. But the recession that followed was a feature, not a bug, of Bush administration policies.

In this particular election season, it's additionally humorous to point out that "Hillary Clinton was in the White House" at that magical time the Republicans want to return to. Maybe they should put her back there?

David Brin said...

Larryhart: “zingleminded” ? Um, you got me. Sometimes the aim is just to make the future more different-sounding…. ;-)

Duncan forcing Malaysia to meet minimum standards in labor and environment will not compel NZ to lower its standards… though there may be exceptions… e.g. you may currently exclude products made in Malaysian factories by workers under 18 and the TPP rules may say 16 stuff like that.

Okay… I dig the IP rules. As an IP owner….

Oh, I am bothered to be on the same side on an issue (TPP) as the GOP congress! But Mexico looms in my mind. And China.

Paul, I would put 3:2 odds she’ll offer it to Sanders. First because she desperately needs her flank guarded and she needs his ground troops. She can declare “You’ll be my conscience and I can put up with the chidings.” Second, dems always pick someone qualified but a bit boring. But that can change.

You raise a point… is this the Libertarians’ year?

Deuxglass the thing about 70s Red Terrorists is that they weren’t even promised 72 virgins!

LH… note that not one single Ay Ran Homo Superior ubermensch Galtian character had a child. Not one.

Paul the ADA did tons of good… but remains irksome. There should be a rule that if a parking lot with 7 handicapped slots never, ever has more than three occupied at the same time, they are allowed to ratchet the number down.

Rainy day funds are supported by Keynsians.

Until his final paragraph, locum was actually cogent.

David Brin said...

donzel I do NOT think the Saudi royals and elites will back Daesh. What I assert is that first Osama and then Daesh have taken to heart the dogmas they were taught in Wahhabi madrassas, which are irredentist and revanchist and utterly nostalgic and apocalyptic.

Those dogmas are taught deliberately and intensely and now the Royals are reaping a bitter fruit of radicals who do NOT believe in the royals’ slower, more deliberate pace nor do they believe the royals are the proper heirs to the dream. The very dream that the R’oils promulgated.

Of course the R’oils want Daesh crushed! But they are not able to lift their heads and realize that their fix is of their own creation. It is in their power to free their women, replace their textbooks and make peace with Israel. They won’t, and we won’t comply with their plan for the US and the West to collapse.

David Brin said...

Tacitus 2016!

Jumper said...

Talk of balanced budgets gives me the willies. For one thing we don't need one, a small amount of deficit spending seems optimal. (Although once that's exceeded year after year there is damage.) The main reason is it's always steered to cut services, never to raise taxes. Much like flat tax proposals, the details always involve sneaky stuff like ending capital gains taxes altogether.

Much criticism of government is really criticism of human nature. Corruption, skimming the till, and laziness affect corporations just as much.

On another matter, the transgender issue seems to me to be some free riders glomming on to the GLB consortium which I otherwise support. I see the so called Trans as deluded, as if they believe in some preposterous fantasy as nonsensical as fringe religious myths. I respect people's right to believe, but I am incapable of converting to that belief regarding that mythology. But I have no desire to be unkind, either, which separates me from disagreeable pissants on the religious right or the haters.

A friend told me of working next to a trans we both regard as a man living as a woman, but he supports the option of using the women's room. "What about my son?" he asked. "She's been living as a woman for years. Dressing, made up as, and acting as a woman, and using ladies' rooms. Why should my son suddenly have to deal with women appearing in the men's room?"

Jumper said...

"Not all, but many of those we have lifted-up have become exceedingly ARROGANT, domineering, demanding, abusive & the very antithesis of 'meekness', so much so that the strong & capable have become the New Meek."

That sounds like you and the angry Trump supporters, locumranch.

David Brin said...

onward

to space!

onward

Zepp Jamieson said...

Not to contradict the Voice of God, but is it possible you derived 'zingleminded' from these disgusting things?
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/zingle-berry?rmvSB=true

Duncan Cairncross said...

There is one major advantage to unisex bathrooms.

If you go to an event with limited toilet facilities and a fairly even number of men and women you can often see long lines at the women's toilets

It's inherent - they take longer

You can fix this by having more toilets for the ladies - but this is rare

Unisex toilets fix this nicely - a more efficient use of the facilities and NOT making half of the population wait in lines

David Brin said...

onward!

Anonymous said...

I do not know any details about TPP except that it forces the signers to improve rule of law, labor, environmental and IP behavior. And that it pisses China off royally. But based on NAFTA, I will lean toward support.

David, up here in Canada I'm worried about it because our environmental laws* would be rolled back. When a foreign corporation can take a government to court claiming as damages all the profits they claim they would have made without the environmental law — as already happens with NAFTA — then I find it hard to see how that is forcing an improvement of environmental standards.

We learned back during the original FTA that the tribunals are slanted towards the US, and that even if we get a favourable judgement the US can just refuse to abide by it. (Seen in the 'Shakes & Shingles Affair', among others.)


*Already weakened by a decade of neocon government.