Monday, March 07, 2016

State power must be supervised. And non-state ownership must be transparent

I've repeated: 2013 was the best year for U.S. Civil Liberties in decades... and almost no one in the media would report on it.  That was the year when the Obama Administration and several federal courts declared it to be "settled law" that citizens have a near-universal right to record their interactions with police in public spaces. 

Some did comment on how this phenomenon was forecast in The Transparent Society (e.g. p.160). Including my predictions that (1)  this would empower minority rights activists to finally be believed, and (2) the fight over details would go on for years.

Sure enough, the battle renewed when U.S. District Judge Mark Kearney ruled against two Philadelphia residents suing city police for using excessive force against them. According to Kearney’s February 19 ruling: "We find there is no First Amendment right under our governing law to observe and record police officers absent some other expressive conduct. …We have not found... citizens have a First Amendment right to record police conduct without any stated purpose of being critical of the government."

In other words, if you openly declare that your intent is to use the footage to publicly denounce cops, then filming them is fine and protected under the First Amendment.  But if you are merely observing and witnessing, or taping in order to have a record, in case you wind up being abused... then that camera can be seized and recording stopped. "This means that only photos and videos of police taken in the spirt of protest or meant to express some other message of disapproval are protected."

And yes, that is as stupid as it sounds.  Especially since the First Amendment is not the only basis for this essential citizen right.  

To my mind, the Sixth Amendment is vastly more pertinent! That is where the Constitution plainly gives any accused citizen a clear right to confront his or her accusers, to demand access to exculpatory evidence, and to compel witnesses on her own behalf. 

The Sixth makes it clear: state interventions must not reduce a citizen's access to exculpatory evidence that might refute state allegations of wrongdoing.  At-minimum any such state efforts bear a steep burden of proof.

Fundamental: Amid the huge imbalance in coercive power, between citizen and state, what other recourse has a citizen, than the truth?  Denying citizens the right and power to collect validating information, to back up their own accounts, is not just a violation of rights in some arcane sense, it is a direct assault upon the fundamental logic and power of citizenry, itself. 

This is an issue about which we have no choice but to be utterly militant.  I have a reputation for proposing many pragmatic compromises, and for having some sympathy for our professional protector caste.  But this is the core issue of our time. Forget encryption wars and/or "right to be forgotten" and any of that other stuff.

This is the citizenship test of our time.

== Tell us what you own ==

Having assailed one kind of governmental power creep, let me turn and blare a warning about the potentially disastrous consolidation of secretive economic power in a few, private hands.

The U.S. Treasury Department says it wants to know if some of the current crop of luxury buyers are laundering money through their purchases. They seek to pierce the confidentiality often sought by luxury buyers who rely on shell companies or limited liability companies to shield their identity.  

For example, the incoming flood of foreign real estate purchasers has many causes, e.g. rich folks in the developing world seeking to safeguard assets and to establish residency, as insurance in case citizens back home get fed-up, or in case even higher homeland muckities decide suddenly to change the rules. This flood has severely affected the ability of Americans to buy property. Cash purchases of real estate hit a peak of 33 percent in late 2013. Think about that. Many of them masked by shell agents and companies. And even larger fractions in New York and Miami (as well as Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, London...)

Indeed, according to economics guru John Mauldin: “a Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst noted that if the top 3% of wealth holders in China moved just 7% of their money out of the country, it would add up to $1.5 trillion. 

I am so rooting for Treasury on this, hoping it will set a precedent for going after all shell masking of ownership, everywhere in the world. 

See my posting where I propose a Transparent Ownership Treaty: If you own something, you must openly avow and say that you own it.  That is only logical and reasonable. So many problems in the world can be attributed to murky title. Indeed, the Peruvian reforms of the great economist Hernando de Soto Polar won overwhelming plaudits from both socialists and libertarians, by giving poor farmers clear title to the land they had farmed for generations. 

No act could ever more spectacularly benefit stockholders and true market capitalism, than for shell corporations to be banned if they are more then two layers deep, forcing hidden puppeteers to come into the open. 

= The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and NAFTA =  

And yes, transparency of ownership applies to issues before us, today. Such as "globalization" - a phenomenon hated-on by the far-left and far-right, but whose flaws never came close to the benefits - raising several billion people out of poverty.

Two international trade treaties are deemed top enemies by populists of both left and right – one of the few areas where rhetoric overlaps. But what I've seen makes me lean toward support for TPP! Especially since it sets several important precedents toward transparency of ownership.

Oh, to be clear, I dislike many things about globalization as-implemented, even in the TPP, like giving corporations levels of "standing" in international courts on a par with nations. See where I offer an almost science fictional take on this trend, weaving it together with Seasteading and other things you never imagined going together. 

But there are much bigger positive portions to the TPP. It welds the nations of SE and East Asia together with the U.S.  It sets new rules on labor and ecology that they must obey, bringing them all much closer to responsible standards. It protects intellectual property better. Above all, TPP sets a new plateau that China knows will become the standard of lawful behavior, before independent judiciary under rule of law, and if they don't start living by these rules, they will not be invited to the party.

Those who decry TPP point to NAFTA, claiming it responsible for losing some American jobs. And I will surprise you by avowing that's possible, even likely. Still they are shortsighted persons who miss a key point --

That it was and remains stunningly, staggeringly, spectacularly in our interest for Mexico to become a prosperous, middle class country. 

In fact, no single foreign policy objective is more in the long term interest of the U.S. No goal is more important to pursue.

Moreover, NAFTA is the biggest thing doing that. It is happening! Rapidly, as we speak. (The plummet in Mexican immigration to the U.S. came not just because of recession, but because jobs are increasingly available at home.) And when a middle class Mexico comes to fruition it will bring a myriad transitions.  For one thing, it is intrinsically easier for a prosperous North America to defend a short border with - say Guatemala - than for the U.S. to build a giant wall against a poverty-stricken Mexico.

The latter ridiculous fantasm is the current limbaugh-dancer fixation... and let me reiterate - the whole illegal immigration red herring is obsolete! Immigration from Mexico is now negative. Mexico is on the rise and we helped do that and they know it. We are helping make another Canada and boy will that be a happier soft landing than any alternative.

Failure to recognize that aspect of NAFTA -- one that's simultaneously beneficent and pragmatically self-interested -- is a stupidity shared across the spectrum, from right to left.  Already Mexico is importing vastly more from the U.S. than it did before NAFTA and that will rise as this investment pays off.

Come on, lads and lasses. You are sci fi folks. Try taking a big picture, for a change.

== But lest we forget ==

Still, keep an eye on the prize.

There is no other action that would better ensure an enlightenment-based, flat-open-fair-creative 21st Century than a firm international treaty on transparency of ownership.  

There are zero legitimate reasons to oppose it, unless you are a frothing Randian who actively wants a return to feudalism.

154 comments:

Greg Hullender said...

I'm so glad to see you speaking up in support of NAFTA and TPP. These programs are so critical to our future prosperity and safety that it is really depressing to hear people on both sides of the political divide trying to tear them down.

aciddc said...

I'm disappointed to see you speaking up in support of NAFTA and TPP. Those programs are so ruinous to our future prosperity and safety that it is really depressing to hear people on both sides of the political divide trying to promote them.

The big thing to remember is that the TPP especially is not really about reducing trade barriers, which are already quite low. It's about writing rules for not only international commerce, but for how countries govern their own economies. And the rules it's writing are weighted hugely towards the global financial elite.

David Brin said...

acisddc, sorry, but you are mostly wrong. Sure there are some pro-elite aspects but they can be edited when the US Civil War ends with an oligarchy-defeat. Meanwhile MOST of the rules that TPP signatories must obey are rules that you want... finally legalizing labor unions in several and banning child labor and setting up independent environmental agencies to enforce transparent standards.

But it is the Mexican Miracle that fanatics in the US left AND right utterly ignore. The rapid rise of the Mexican middle class is imperfect but it is real, it is rapid, and it is by far the most important US foreign policy aim and it is propelled by NAFTA.

Reflexive NAFTA-hating is not just short-sighted to a MR. Magoo level and self-destructive, it is racist.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - The "confrontation clause" is limited only to criminal proceedings, and only for the accused to 'confront' witnesses against him. It's a right held by the accused - not the bystanders and witnesses monitoring an incident involving the accused.

This is why the focus is on 1st Amendment rights, which are held by every American, and serve to restrict government conduct against everyone.

Now, a re-reading of the Sixth (akin to the rereading of the 2nd to strip out the first clause) is possible - instead of a "right of the accused to confront witnesses" - the right could be read as a general "right of everyone to monitor police." I'm not clear how that changes the status quo for the defendant (who already had that right, but can typically only exercise it through counsel). Often, when a right is re-read in one context, the implications have impact in very different contexts (e.g., such a right could result in compulsory review of all video recorded in a certain area - government confiscation of personal data streams to give effect to the newly concocted right). This is why even the most liberal, progressive judges look extremely conservative to outsiders and legislators - they strive to stick with precedent, and to limit expanding a legal concept to its full possible application.

donzelion said...

As for this -
The U.S. Treasury Department says it wants to know if some of the current crop of luxury buyers are laundering money through their purchases.

Key tricks in money laundering: buying of artworks, buying and flipping of real estate (esp. properties still under development), gambling, and small, cash-heavy businesses.

However - I'm not sure the BofA commentator's stats. Hard to fathom 3% of wealth holders in China owning $21 trillion in assets, unless you're counting vast real estate at vastly inflated values. The entire foreign reserves of China are a bit over $3 trillion after all...but if that $21 trillion in assets was 'portable' (as most real estate is not), it would be pretty hard to hide (even with multiple layers of shell companies).

Since the modern renaissance of corporations (post-Catholic/Orthodox churches), they've been designed to "publicly display" ownership (through shareholder exchanges) - yet simultaneously, to "hide ownership" (through complex trusts interacting with shareholder exchanges). Were your policy to succeed, it would be necessary to ensure that every "private company" became a "public company" - no more Mom'n'Pop family trusts! - but that would hurt smaller companies trying to become public, and create substantial administrative costs for the same Mom'n'Pop shops you were trying to help protect from the giants. Complexity hurts a certain kind of business, helps another kind of business, and in general, complexity is not resolved by transparency alone (often, it becomes worse - a massive bank can comply with strict rules for daily capital account ratio publication - a small, local housing & loan a la 'It's a Wonderful Life' would struggle with that).

Tony Fisk said...

My main objection to TPP and related agreements is the secrecy under which the negotiations have been conducted. That should be setting off the warning bells right there.

From what we've learned from leaks, it calls for democratically elected governments to abrogate certain rights (eg legislature), yet politicians have not had access to the documents themselves, and when they do may well be asked to ratify them in short order.

There have been plenty of adverse scenarios presented eg a corporation that may sue a government for acting in the best interests of its constituents (Phillip-Morris' challenge to Australia's plain packaging tobacco laws are a good example of what can happen, although that case has been specifically excluded), but I've yet to hear of any beneficial ones.

Based on that information, TPP gets the thumbs down from me.

donzelion said...

And finally... Those who decry TPP point to NAFTA, claiming it responsible for losing some American jobs.

Possible, but not historically demonstrated. I somehow missed the "great sucking sound" of American jobs fleeing to Mexico in the '90s. Somehow, employment and job growth escalated. HOWEVER, that reversed massively with the dot-bomb era, and about 75-90% of the retarded job growth these last 20 years can be laid to China - which is not part of the TPP, not part of NAFTA, and not part of any other similar arrangement. Labor groups despise the TPP because, like NAFTA, employers COULD set up factories in Mexico and break apart unions themselves (unless the unions learn how to globalize themselves, they will always be played against one another). But America as a whole benefits from any expansion of trade when that expansion is based on rules.

In China, the 'rules' were "take the cheapest cost provider and deal with issues as they arise - to hell with everything else." U.S. corporations sought to "extract" a benefit of low prices from China; any growth to China might matter later on in the face of making quarterly projections for now. In Mexico, the 'rules' were extensive and included a few (very modest) labor provisions - the idea being that Mexico, after a period of adjustment, would become a massive importer of American goods as well as an exporter of other goods (a gamble that paid off quite well).

My takeaway: Americans are EXCELLENT competitors. Whenever we trade with countries in a field applying rules, we can and do win as a whole. However, when the rules are opaque and non-existent, certain elites are able to win this game, but the nation as a whole (and workers in general) does not.

Jumper said...

How is it that TV news gets to record about everything on the street, but some states try to use laws about audio recording of private conversations to prohibit citizens from recording on the streets (or in their cars or their friends' cars)? There are no "official journalists" recognized by law as having special rights that I know of. In fact the idea of government-approved journalists with special "badges" makes my skin crawl.

On trade, any system which promotes trade with entities which have inferior worker protections does indeed harm jobs in this country. Who decides if the benefits outweigh that? Not the workers.

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donzelion said...

@Jumper - Here's a topnotch course on the subject of privacy:
http://www.thegreatcourses.com/courses/privacy-property-and-free-speech-law-and-the-constitution.html

On trade, this - any system which promotes trade with entities which have inferior worker protections does indeed harm jobs in this country - is just wrong. It's not the quality of the worker protections, but the possibility of expanding them that makes a difference. Mexico surely has inferior worker protection to America (more workers get killed there than here by corporate owners) - but trade with Mexico benefits both of us immensely. Trade with China, by contrast, benefits American elites, but hurts everyone else. Why the difference?

First, just to be clear: what happened to real wages earned in America under Bill Clinton, after NAFTA took effect? For years, they increased, as did employment. No "giant sucking sound" of American jobs moving to Mexico ever took place. The "giant sucking sound" of American jobs to China, by contrast, is a wholly different thing.

If trade with either Mexico or China were really about exploiting workers, there wouldn't have been all that much advantage to China over Mexico (slightly cheaper wages, slightly higher transportation costs, it balances out). However, unlike trade with Mexico, trade with China offers unique opportunities for well-placed American elites: the absence of rules made it possible for them to exploit Chinese corruption themselves, and pocket some of the benefits.

It's a fairly common structure - one group of oligarchs benefits from trade with another group of oligarchs, and to balance out any miscalculations, they'll each oppress their own serfs/slaves a little bit more to extract any losses from errors they make.

donzelion said...

@Jumper - by the way, labor unions still, by and large, abhor NAFTA, for a very specific reason. Corporations with a large number of union workers could always set up shop in different states and play different factions of a union against one another - but if they cheated too much, the possibility existed of the federal government stepping in. Moving to Mexico would prevent that possibility, making the same old game that much harder to play. Hence, every union I know of opposes NAFTA.

NAFTA, of course, was a product of the Reagan/Bush trade policy negotiating strategy: Clinton couldn't replace it by adding provisions to cover unions, environmental practices, and other important priorities. Obama, by contrast, claims to have done precisely that and included such provisions in the TPP. If so, then the TPP would "update" NAFTA to include items skipped in 1993 that should have been present. But the folks who hated NAFTA then hate the TPP even more now - when really, the focus should be on the feasibility of setting up cross-country unions to jointly operate and hold corporations accountable.

(Insiders on the Left, representing such unions, dread this possibility - unless they speak Korean/Japanese/Spanish/etc., how would they ever create solidarity? They have good reason to be afraid - esp. us Americans with our monolingual ways.)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Those who decry TPP point to NAFTA, claiming it responsible for losing some American jobs.


I'm not sure that is true. Certainly, my own opposition to TPP is more about that "standing for corporations" which you also mention.

I can see the potential benefit of uniform ecological and human rights standards if those standards are high. I'm concerned that it will do the opposite--force the US to allow corporations the same benefits they have in Vietnam.

But if you're right and I'm wrong, I'll be a happy camper.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: (Carry over from last thread)

I'm one of the people who will argue about what the OST means, but I avoid doing so here unless David brings it up. The position me and a few of my friends take is the US government didn't have the authority to surrender a citizen's ability to claim property outside US sovereign control, therefore that part of the OST was null and void. What stood was they could not claim sovereign control and we didn't really mind that.

It's an argument that sits somewhere between Amendment #9 and #10. I'm happy to see that we don't have to rely on such an argument, though, and that's why we've been willing to make common cause with just about anyone to get things clarified in a way that supports our needs regarding collateralizing our projects out there.

donzelion said...

@Tony - My main objection to TPP and related agreements is the secrecy under which the negotiations have been conducted.

Secrecy, alas, is the only means of negotiating such complex arrangements. Such was the case with the U.S. Constitution, and remains the case with most similar large agreements requiring numerous compromises. In any negotiations, one party has to test the other positions to extract the best deal possible. Such tests would be impossible if you were being attacked by people in your own country looking for a way to extract a special benefit.

Example - Vietnam to America: "We're willing to do 'tax transparency', but only if you shorten patents to 15 years. Four other countries agree with us on this." America to Vietnam: "Would you and those other countries be willing to do 'tax transparency' if we shortened patents to 18 years?" Vietnam to America: "Sure, we could do that, but we don't know about some of the others..." American Pharmaceuticals: OBAMA IS SELLING US OUT! STOP HIM NOW! (Similar efforts would undermine every negotiated principle for every industry in every country - making the trade negotiations impossible.)

Granted, there's a strong argument to be made against any major agreements - after all, Jefferson made precisely that argument as an Anti-Federalist who opposed the U.S. Constitution. Had his side prevailed, and America kept the Articles of Confederation...well, that would have been a disaster for modern America (but would have helped Mexico, Canada, Spain, and Russia immensely - most likely, all of them would have retained their territories).

So it goes with the TPP. China abhors the "secret negotiations" in which they do not participate - as do many of those who abhor transparency, while calling for it elsewhere.

As for this complaint -

democratically elected governments to abrogate certain rights (eg legislature)
Elizabeth Warren makes that argument. Her reasoning is slightly more nuanced; that's the sound bite reduction of her point. It's misleading because
(1) Corporations could (almost) always sue governments when their rights were abused. Nothing new there.
(2) When corporations sued foreign governments for abusing their rights, sometimes (often/always), foreign governments play the 'foreign corporation' card against them. (E.g., a "minimum wage increase" that applies to companies owned by non-citizens is a common tactic - or subsidized wages for workers at domestically-owned enterprises, which is essentially the same thing...) Thus, corporations have a choice of either biting the bullet and getting abused, bribing a U.S. senator to call upon the U.S. government to call in the WTO (which, if you win, will merely award a right to bring trade sanctions against the foreign government, rather than stopping the offending conduct) - or bribing local officials and getting them to betray their local populations.

The TPP, like other trade promotion agreements (we already have them with most participants in the TPP), creates an arbitration panel (expensive private lawyers!) to review the conduct. Now, a few lawyers earning $1000+ an hour may prove cheaper than (a) self-help in the form listed above, (b) abandoning a factory and/or the country as a whole, or (c) orchestrating a coup. It's not clear that this will be the case, but seems worth trying to me.

Galtar said...

I worry that TPP will cause an increase in lawsuits against US environmental trade laws similar to the issue with Dolphin Safe Tuna labeling we are having against Mexico.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-beachy/the-wto-just-dealt-a-blow_b_8611550.html

Just labeling cans of tuna in the US is a barrier to trade for our existing trade agreements, but now TPP seeks to expand on those.

Duncan Cairncross said...

TPP

My main objection is that it requires us (NZ) to give up our laws on things like IP and use the US laws - which are simply NOT as good

There is also a problem with PHARMAC - the NZ body that assesses the value of drugs and negotiates the price our Health service will pay.

Under the TPP companies will be able to interfere with this - this will end up costing us more money

I take David's point that countries with a less advanced legal system will have to move forwards and up to US standards but I am less keen on countries with a more advanced system like NZ and Australia having to go backwards

donzelion said...

@Larry - why did I appoint myself the defender of the TPP? Certainly, a mark of contrarian stupidity. The right wing that loves it has no use for me; the left wing that hates it will not trust me. So it goes... ;)

Certainly, my own opposition to TPP is more about that "standing for corporations" which you also mention.
See the second half of my response to Tony for why "standing" is a good thing, not a bad thing. The mere power to bring a claim is not the same as the power to WIN that claim. One still must prove that a law was intended specifically to target foreign companies - to effectively 'steal' their investments - before getting anywhere.

The trick isn't to judge whether environmental/human rights/labor standards are "good enough." They're not, they seldom are, anywhere (unless you come from the Rando-verse, in which case, standards are bad faith tricks designed to steal from the productive and give to the freeloaders).

The trick is to figure out how to enforce those standards that actually exist, and then for political groups to decide whether they're good enough 'for us, for now' - without shifting the cost of enforcement to foreigners alone.

In America, we have a host of public and private mechanisms for enforcing our own standards and laws. If a polluter dumps toxic chemicals into a community, the federal government, the state government, the local police, and private persons can all step in to challenge the behavior. And even with so many actors working to drive adherence to high standards, we still get it wrong sometimes.

In many foreign countries, those forms of enforcement mechanisms aren't available. So what tends to happen is that a good standard is 'selectively' enforced - e.g., everyone breaks the law, but only foreigners get caught by the government officials. A good rule "companies shouldn't poison the citizens" gets morphed into a trick "foreign companies that do so will be punished; local companies that do so will get away with it."

Take Canada (which gets sued under NAFTA more than anyone): they banned 'importation' of MMT (a chemical they deemed problematic), and banned 'interprovincial trade in MMT' - but not internal trade that was a product of a provincial agreement (e.g., three provinces actually had entered into an agreement to control the trade). Environmentalists cite this $200 million judgment as "proof that NAFTA hurts environmental laws" - but really, they're just trying to stay friendly with labor unions (who have more members than they do) - and overlooking the actual decision (which focused on the differential treatment resulting from the law - blocking foreign companies, but sparing local companies).

David Brin said...

Eep. "Mitt Romney has filed paperwork with FEC to run in the current election and may be trying to block out Trump so he does not get the Republican nomination."

That's a generous interpretation. The more accurate one? There is no limit to human egotistical self-delusion. I think it's why aliens love to watch this show.

http://bipartisanreport.com/2016/03/07/mitt-romney-files-fec-paperwork-to-run-in-2016-election/

donzelion said...

@Galtar - ack! Dolphin slaughter! Surely anyone on Dr. Brin's board would be mortally offended by that!

LOL - try reading through the actual decision and history by the WTO, and it will change your views immensely. I can summarize the summary, or you can review it at the WTO itself - https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/dispu_e/cases_e/ds381_e.htm

Essentially, the U.S. had one "dolphin-safe" label, that had different requirements to obtain in different regions. In the Atlantic (where few Mexican tuna fleets operate), the requirements to obtain 'dolphin-safe' labels were relatively mild (otherwise, that would have been expensive for small, poor, American tuna fleets to comply with). In parts of the Pacific (where most Mexican and many other tuna fleets operate), the costs were more stringent. America designed the rule to create a challenge for big Pacific corporate fleets, without hurting small independent Atlantic fishermen.

For the general goal of stopping slaughter of dolphins - the WTO never had any problem. Only the means of achieving that goal (protecting American fishermen from having to do very much, while increasing costs for non-American fishermen) was challenged.

It is the same problem with nearly every international trade matter: a very simplistic approach misses what is almost always a carefully structured system to protect local businesses against foreign competitors. The press (e.g., "Huffington Post") will usually be distorted - Democrats NEED labor unions + environmentalists to come together and form a joint cause against Republicans so they've no incentive to dive into the details. Republicans either don't care (or rather, they prefer to let corporations self-regulate, and develop their own labeling system without government intrusion).

Alfred Differ said...

As the years go by, I'm more and more inclined to support efforts to eliminate government involvement in labeling systems. It's not a libertarian, hands-off-corporations thing though. It's that labeling efforts are like giving alcohol to alcoholics.

Sure! Sounds like a great time! Oh... except I can't handle it and behave stupidly within seconds.

In this case, the corruptive influence of market participants floods into the effort because it must. Inviting commerce into political markets produces 'drunken' behavior that strikes me as very predictable.

donzelion said...

@Duncan - My main objection is that it requires us (NZ) to give up our laws on things like IP and use the US laws - which are simply NOT as good

I'm guessing PHARMAC negotiates drugs for use in NZ from US drug companies. I'm guessing (because it's fairly universal practice) that in exchange for a 'low rate,' PHARMAC agrees not to permit a NZ company to market a "competing generic drug" for several years (until they complete all the licensing and approval processes that the big pharm maker had to complete - which will take 5-10 years). That "understanding" becomes a sort of a "secret negotiation" between PHARMAC and Big Pharma companies (e.g., PHARMAC will not permit a generic competitor to market Drug X for Y years).

If PHARMAC were to breach those "secret agreements," the U.S. drug companies couldn't "pull their products from the market" - because the IP would be present in NZ to produce the drugs yourselves. The big drug companies would have no recourse other than to block future drugs they develop from NZ (and guard against 'piracy' - anyone stealing their secret formulas).

In this sense, PHARMAC has a sort of a 'secret contractual' arrangement with Big Pharma companies, that operates through a complex 'regulatory' arrangement in New Zealand, which bars upstarts from selling drugs from foreign companies except under license.

"Under the TPP companies will be able to interfere with this - this will end up costing us more money"
Unlikely. More likely, instead of negotiating a "Patent + Approval + 5-15 years" deal for each new drug - PHARMAC would lock fixed terms, say "Patent + Approval + 10" (or whatever the final numbers prove to be). Is that a better deal or a worse deal? Remember regulators like to recycle the same terms for each deal - it's probably already close to what exists in NZ, which has been playing this game (quite well, by most accounts) for decades.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - lol, a fair rejoinder to my exchange with Galtar re "dolphin safe" labeling. I doubt he was aware how the U.S. actually erected the labeling system - more likely, as with most activists - he read somewhere that "the WTO wants to slaughter dolphins once more" and didn't look past that to the actual decisions to see how the ruling really worked and what it said.

Still...I did raise the Republican response (as it is one of the easiest ways to unite anti-government Republicans with anti-trade Democrats): voluntary labeling.

"It's that labeling efforts are like giving alcohol to alcoholics."

OK, now here's my concern: absent government intrusion, all labeling voluntarily conducted by any private company is a 'marketing' ploy, rather than a regulatory ploy. THAT would be giving alcohol to alcoholics (and asking them to tell others whether it's safe to drink). So long as labeling is enforced by the government, it's essentially a "regulatory tax" (and the government can become addicted to increasing taxes - but this is a relatively safe one, since they don't actually get any revenue from it - they merely impose costs onto the regulated entities).

"the corruptive influence of market participants floods into the effort because it must."
Of course, that influence will strive to have an effect. And that's where you and I come into the picture. Because WE MUST. (Or at least, we can find and support citizen groups that endorse our values.) A label does not fix a problem - it merely imposes a cost. It's still our job to make sure those using it aren't lying, and to carry the ball when the government drops it.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion

PHARMAC does not have those sort of powers!,
all it does is

Analyze the effectiveness of various drugs - not testing just using existing studies

Then negotiate with the drug companies how much they are willing to sell for

PHARMAC does not, can not stop the drug companies from selling in NZ

The leverage it has is that it decides which drugs the national health system will use by applying a cost benefit test

You can buy other drugs (with your doctors approval) but the health system will not subsidize them

What will now happen under the TPP is that companies will be able to take PHARMAC to court for not approving their drugs - they won't win but they will cause PHARMAC to spend a lot of extra money

Approval of drugs is not PHARMAC's job - we tend to a "me too" approach - if one of the big boys (USA, EU, UK...)has approved a drug then we just copy and paste

The other side - the drug IP side, the TPP will require us to extend the protection period for various types of drugs

As far as US companies blocking NZ to avoid piracy - how would that work?
When you patent something the patent immediately becomes a public document - and anything NOT on the patent document is not protected
So how could you keep somebody from "stealing your secret formula"? when you must publish it as part of the patent process?


donzelion said...

Sorry Duncan, I'm not familiar with NZ, but am very familiar with the pharmaceutical practices overseas. Whenever there's a national health provider, Big Pharms will find ways to restrict generic competitors from cropping up (sometimes even creating their own "generic competitors"). There's always critical data outside the patent terms that is necessary to actually market a drug - that data is not patented, but without it, what doctor can ethically prescribe a drug? What government can subsidize it?

The specific process is tailored to each country, based on whatever institutions exist locally, but the outcome is the same: generic competitors spring up for a few years, obtaining a large enough pool of efficacy/treatment protocols data to actually formulate a drug and market it - but eventually, those competitors are reined in or bought off.

"the drug IP side, the TPP will require us to extend the protection period for various types of drugs"
Again, it works roughly as I said in my last post. The "patent protection period" already exists, it's just a "contractual" alternative - whether the contracts are between private licensees with Big Pharma, or between government regulators and Big Pharma, or some other players - Big Pharma always finds its way to limit generic competitors, the means are usually highly secretive, and they generally last until the patent rights expire. It's not clear to me that the TPP will extend or reduce that time, but if it can't be done through patent duration, it can be done through other (legal) means.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion

I'm afraid that you are suffering from a common American problem - the assumption that the USA is the whole world,

It really does not take much to control the drug companies - National Health systems - even small countries like NZ - are big enough customers that all that is required is to not purchase.

There are very few drugs that don't have competitors - this can be seen by the prices we pay here,

We don't need to mess about with generic's - simply having a single negotiator has been enough to keep the monsters under control

Saying that there is no need to give big Pharms any more power at all and the TPP will extend patent periods and restrict our old "Fair use" rules

donzelion said...

@Duncan - I'm afraid that you are suffering from a common American problem - the assumption that the USA is the whole world

LOL - no, I'm suffering from a surfeit of knowledge about how US/UK/EU Big Pharm Cos work OUTSIDE of the U.S., and a dearth of marketable knowledge of how they work here. ;)

"We don't need to mess about with generic's - simply having a single negotiator has been enough to keep the monsters under control"
Acknowledged, BUT if you're not seeing generics on the market in NZ, then that generally means your regulators have cooperated with Big Pharma in the standard cooperative/competitive negotiated outcome to keep 'mid-sized' domestic competitors from arising. The threat to Big Pharma is always "small/mid" Pharma - factories with 20-50 employees who manufacture identical formulations to what they've developed, who then turn around to wreck the market for Big Pharma in a specific country. The regulatory scheme is intended to prevent that sort of competition.

there is no need to give big Pharms any more power at all and the TPP will extend patent periods and restrict our old "Fair use" rules
Prices may rise, but there's a good chance you won't see any serious effects at all. I suggest looking critically at what your regulators are saying and why: if they're raising alarms, take them seriously, since they'll know the terms of any secret deals they already entered into with Big Pharma to get products into NZ. But if the TPP goes catastrophically wrong for your health system, NZ can just withdraw. The U.S., Australia, Japan, and Korea aren't going to invade NZ - they'll just refrain from further pharm investment there. And even if prices for pharm products rise slightly, those costs may be balanced by other gains, as is normally the case with free trade treaties.

So either way, NZ has little to fear and potentially, much to gain - as long as you exercise vigilance and respond if you see something oppressive. Different situation in the U.S., where nearly all current labor leaders will lose (to their multilingual, geographically mobile upstarts who can work with unions in multiple countries), and where paid activists will also likely "lose" (to be displaced by technocrats, on more of an EU model, and fewer reactionaries, or oligarch-financed provocateurs).

Jumper said...

I worked in the large transformer business in the '90s. It largely moved to Mexico because of lower wages and lower environmental protection costs in the late '90s. There were other factors. Management loves to point at those factors when bad management has had impacts as significant. But then no management has to admit that; they are too busy moving the plants.

donzelion said...

@Jumper - hope that transition didn't expose you to much pain.

One witnesses the jobs "lost" as a result of any factory that gets shut down in America, only to be reopened abroad. One seldom sees jobs "gained" - they flow to different people with different skillsets in a different position. One sees the wages one earns, the ability to pay the mortgage and save up - or not - but one does not experience a "GDP increase of 3%" - save in some abstract statistical report.

Rightists blame the foreigners for doing it (e.g., Trump). Leftists blame the managers (with significantly better evidence, but ultimately, here too, blame is futile). Liberals get squeezed here: we have to acknowledge the pain is real, have to hope it is temporary/transitional, have to vest our faith in something unseen. "Competition works and makes things better for us all." Yes, but what if I lose the competition for 16 years (as American workers, by and large, have been losing ever since Clinton left office - and some, even before that). How does this theoretical benefit proposed by smart, elite scientists and other prophets and what-not benefit ME? Thus the angst of smart participants here and so many other forums - so often expressed in half-thought rage, conveying hope of connecting - and dissatisfaction with where things are now.

And yet...I'd rather share in this pain of dislocation, than join the cynics profiting from dislocating others. I'd rather hold the line - clench tight my Adam Smith and faith in ultimate goodness of humanity in spite of seeing so much - than withdraw. Even as I withdraw into a cyberspace forum to gripe about it all. ;)

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Eep. "Mitt Romney has filed paperwork with FEC to run in the current election and may be trying to block out Trump so he does not get the Republican nomination."

That's a generous interpretation. The more accurate one? There is no limit to human egotistical self-delusion. I think it's why aliens love to watch this show.


The strategy I heard the desperate GOP leadership is aiming for is to run a "good conservative" as a third candidate, not thinking that the new candidate can win the election, but thinking that they can get enough electoral votes that no one gets the 270 majority. In that case, the (Republican) House of Representatives gets to choose which of the top three candidates is the next president.

Seems to me, such a strategy, if successful, could change American electoral politics forever.

I also wonder if that strategy could be countered by running yet another candidate on the other side--say Bernie Sanders. If the top three electoral vote getters are Clinton, Trump, and Sanders, I wonder who the House would crown.

i_/0 said...

Defending a treaty as flawed as TPP because it contains positive elements absent from other discussions is as short sighted as the ever so slightly straw man arguments you often attribute to your 'opposition' Mr Brin. We only know anything about it at all because of 'unofficial' leaks. Then there's TTIP, CETA and TISA.

"Try taking a big picture, for a change."

"But it is the Mexican Miracle that fanatics in the US left AND right utterly ignore."

Details, details, details.

Nazism promised a better world, jobs and living room through an idea the bulk demographic could apparently live with, as long as they weren't required to focus on - details.

Many of those who paid attention were described as fanatics, I'm just sayin. You can do better than the above level of argument Mr Brin.

LarryHart said...

from www.electoral-vote.com, what I (and others) have been saying all along about the value of a Sanders campaign, even if he doesn't win:


It is becoming clearer to Bernie Sanders' donors that he is facing a very difficult climb now and it will probably get much steeper with a certain loss in Mississippi today, a probably loss in Michigan today, and possible losses in multiple states next Tuesday. They don't care. They want him to keep going, even in the face of insurmountable odds. They see his campaign as shifting the Overton window to the left. The want to see discussions of inequality, breaking up the big banks, and the influence of money in politics front and center in the campaign, rather than things that Democrats are scared to talk about. Even if he doesn't win the nomination, his campaign can have a lasting effect by changing the topics that the media ask about and which the public discusses. (V)

raito said...

"Sure there are some pro-elite aspects but they can be edited when the US Civil War ends with an oligarchy-defeat."

Far better to edit first.

Anonymous Viking said...

@LarryHart

"I also wonder if that strategy could be countered by running yet another candidate on the other side--say Bernie Sanders. If the top three electoral vote getters are Clinton, Trump, and Sanders, I wonder who the House would crown."

538 has an interesting simulation on that topic:

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/bloomberg-might-have-produced-president-trump/

On the point of congress deciding, that would be the incoming one, which means we don't know the composition

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)#Joint_session_of_Congress_and_the_contingent_election

A.F. Rey said...

I'm not sure the Romney filing is much of anything.

For one, the Romney for President campaign has been continually active, even after Romney decided not to run.

For another, it was filed by a committee named "Romney for President Inc.", which may or may not represent Romney. :)

Finally, as the site below says:

...it bears mentioning that practically anyone can file with the FEC without actually running. In fact, this year there is filings for Abraham Lincoln for President 2016, Dat Fat A$$, Syndeys Voluptious Buttocks and Don’t Vote For Trump.

http://www.inquisitr.com/2858500/mitt-romney-recently-filed-papers/

So while it may mean something, it may also mean absolutely nothing.

Anonymous Viking said...

"Through ACA, I get to pay part of the $400 per month for something that should cost $7/2 months."

In case the above was unclear, what I meant is that my tax payments will be used to subsidize that overpriced medicine, and there is no incentive for physicians or patients to avoid Advair and it's obscene prices.

occam's comic said...

“Reflexive NAFTA-hating is not just short-sighted to a MR. Magoo level and self-destructive, it is racist.”

Hrmmm, I wonder what else might be examples of Mr Magoo level of short sightedness, self destructiveness and racism. Perhaps, pursuing a type of globalization that greatly increases the wealth and power of the global oligarchs at the expense of the American working class (and increasingly the salary class),. Never once mentioning that this strategy has a disproportionate effect on communities of color. (is that because of racism? Or is it classism? Or a combination of them both).
In the case of NAFTA, “free traders” never mention the devastating effects on poor Mexican farmers. Is that an example of racism? Or is it classism? Or a combination of them both?
Is it racist, short sighted and self-destructive to allow products produced with actual slave labor to be sold in the US ?
How about “free traders” who constantly try to minimize the cost other Americans have been paying for their distorted version of “free trade” as “some job loss”. It has been a hell of a lot of jobs and it is not just the lost jobs it is the lost bargaining power. Working class people haven’t been getting decent raises for decades and they totally lost pensions.
And of course “free traders” have been happy to saddle the poor in the third world with massive pollution, and the cancers that come with it. Is that because they are racist who are fine with poor Chinese children dying of cancer so that they can get slightly cheaper crap ?
Or how about the “free traders” who push for free movement of goods and capital but not the free movement of people? That has to be classist and racist, doesn’t it?

Is it short sighted to see this version of “global free trade” as empowering global oligarchs at the expense of democracy. We now have a situation in which a proto fascist like Donald Trump has the support of a substantial portion of the US in large part because so many people think the elected democrats and republicans are bought and payed for by the global oligarchs

donzelion said...

@Io - "Defending a treaty as flawed as TPP...We only know anything about it at all because of 'unofficial' leaks. Actually, no, the full text is available as of November:
https://ustr.gov/trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements/trans-pacific-partnership/tpp-full-text

As you say, "details, details, details."

donzelion said...

@Larry - "from www.electoral-vote.com, what I (and others) have been saying all along about the value of a Sanders campaign, even if he doesn't win"

To me, the value of the Bernie Sanders campaign - win or lose - is ads like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6XXEHZsAkR0

Brought a tear to my eye. He doesn't even show up until the ad is more than halfway over. A profound anti-Trumpism - which, alas, will only affect people with a conscience who need more than 5 minutes to make up their minds about tough, important issues, and are able to read subtitles or understand Spanish...

i_/0 said...

My point stands. The treaty was leaked first by wikileaks in October last year, prior to that there was little or no official information of any kind, as you probably well know. Regarding TTIP, CETA, TISA democratically elected parliamentarians have complained about their lack access to the documents.

donzelion said...

@ Anonymous Viking -
Here you have a drug [QVAR] where the patent has been expired for more than a decade, and in united states, we pay nearly 100x the price...Despite the patent expired in 2010, there are no serious competitors, and the price is $400 per month.
I'd refer back to my earlier discussion with Duncan - as I indicated, patents are merely one of several tools used by Big Pharma to drive up prices. In the U.S., Big Pharma and other medical players have strong incentives to raise prices and pass them on to someone else - without any limits. In other TPP member states, they can't do that as easily (though they have many tricks they can play - the ultimate effect is lower costs everywhere EXCEPT here). Perhaps, rather than making the rest of the TPP member states "more like America," the eventual result will be making America more like the other member states - where health costs have not risen to anything approaching the ridiculous levels they've reached here.

No one in a position to extort profits from patients will relinquish that power without a fight - but a little transparency should help. The first step though is to look past the flippant answers bandied about, and do some hard, critical thinking. Too many of the activists unreflectively hostile to the TPP are not thinking their critique through.

donzelion said...

@Occam - If you're concerned about the "devastating effects" on some Mexican farmers (and check out that link to Bernie Sanders I posted, which shows just how devastating the effects of NAFTA were - for Mexican farmers in Florida) - you might pair that with a broader historical survey of immigration from Mexico. In the 1990s, many of the farmers WERE hurt - at first - and yet, today, net migration from Mexico is nearly zero.

But in the world of foreign trade, one cannot look at NAFTA in isolation. From 1995-2000, NAFTA "worked" - and pretty well for Americans and many Mexicans. After 2000, something very big changed - CHINA. With the Bush tax cuts creating "savings" - those savings were deployed to create jobs - in China, by the hundreds of millions. Once those flows to China started, they reduced the total investment pool previously going to Mexico - and for a good reason: much easier for elites to profit from China trade, much harder to do so with Mexico.

And hence the reason we need a TPP: Americans as a whole prosper when trade is based on rules. BUT when trade is based on narrow interests of a specific class, rules do not help those seeking the opportunity to extract profits and maintain them with that class.

donzelion said...

IO - Your point was to focus on the details of a flawed treaty, which you've confessed you've never read, and which you were unaware was available to read. I'd do that first, and then try to make a point.

donzelion said...

Re TPP - I'm chuckling as this debate proceeds here. So many different lines of attack, so few asserting the positive case here...

Opponents of the TPP are endorsing the U.S.-Chinese model of trade - they may not realize that their opposition will ensure perpetuation of the status quo of "race-to-the-bottom" wages, in both China and America. Chinese oligarchs and American oligarchs have benefited from this status quo immensely, and will go all out to perpetuate it.

Here's the thing: Competition is good for the community. Competition and trade create wealth. "Competition" is not an endorsement of Nazism, Socialism, or any other nasty movement - it is an embrace of a mechanism by which nations build wealth.

When competition follows rules - any rules - then some of that wealth MAY percolate throughout the society (if members compete effectively). When competition does not follow rules, then the benefits of competition will be restricted to a narrow class that commands wealth & power.

So, while some prefer to fixate on a few terms here and there - how does it save the dolphins? how does it reduce patents? what about poor Mexican peasants? what about American manufacturing? - the first principle should be recognized: WITH rules, there is a CHANCE for broader prosperity that reaches throughout a community. Without them, there is no chance whatsoever - and those who can trade in the absence of rules will utilize their wealth and power to do so for their own advantage.

Val said...

I think a large issue of the problem with the TPP is that its the level of secrecy about the specifics of the deal plus the real/perceived consequences from the past trade deals on a personal level.

Few people would argue that a net positive gain in peace, trade, health, diplomacy, and standards world wide is a virtuous undertaking but when when your the guy(s) on the factory floor whose lost their job, financially ruined, can't afford basic healthcare, needs to support a family, and forced into a life of debt and constant struggle that they may never recover from, it gets a bit hard to feel so good about the overall universal world benefit.

I think after decades of trade deals people on the lower end of things likely feel as though they have to be the ones to ALWAYS bear the burden of progress. With little personal return on the cost. This is where the US needs to catch up. The social safety nets that should have been formed along side the trade deals have not come about. I'm not even sure they really were that much considered.

The major safety net we need. Not to fill some socialist idealism desires on my part. I see it as utterly needed for the US remain economically competitive at all.

The diplomatic aspects I agree are pretty useful over all, which is what I think Obama's main interest in the deal, as apposed to the direct financial details. (that is based on what details I actually know)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

@Larry - why did I appoint myself the defender of the TPP? Certainly, a mark of contrarian stupidity. The right wing that loves it has no use for me; the left wing that hates it will not trust me. So it goes... ;)


Actually, you make a stronger case than I've seen before. I still don't like it, but you make me feel not as bad about its inevitable passage.


Take Canada (which gets sued under NAFTA more than anyone): they banned 'importation' of MMT (a chemical they deemed problematic), and banned 'interprovincial trade in MMT' - but not internal trade that was a product of a provincial agreement


In the 1990s, I ran afoul of a similar situation regarding porn. I drove to Toronto to meet my brother at a conference there, and the border guards ransacked my stack of comics that I had brought along. I thought they were just dicking me around, but found out later that Canada had then-recently passed a law restricting the importation of porn, and that border guards were required to leaf through every magazine looking for porn. The law did not restrict home-grown porn, strictly imports. It was essentially a protectionist measure for Canadian porn.

LarryHart said...

Anonymous Viking:

On the point of congress deciding, that would be the incoming one, which means we don't know the composition


Hmmm, I hadn't realized that. I was thinking it would be the congress on Dec 15, when the electoral college meets.

It's strictly the House of Representatives who would choose the president, and that body is so heavily gerrymandered that it's sure to be in Republican hands. But it does make an interesting wild card, especially if the possibility is made into an election issue.

i_/0 said...

"Your point was to focus on the details of a flawed treaty, which you've confessed you've never read, and which you were unaware was available to read. I'd do that first, and then try to make a point"

I haven't read it in entirety, that's correct. I knew the day it was published on Wiki that a more official publication would have to follow soon. I'll say it again, were it not for the leaks it probably wouldn't have been published at all until after the deal was done. Hardly speaks to it's democratic potential.

donzelion said...

@Larry - thanks for your sentiment, though I'm chuckling at your "porn stash" of comic books. It's very much the little things like that which arise on a daily basis, but do not lend themselves to headline news that rules can restrain.

@Val - "after decades of trade deals people on the lower end of things likely feel as though they have to be the ones to ALWAYS bear the burden of progress." Indeed, they must feel that, especially because no oligarch is going to tell a worker, "Haha! It's nothing personal, but if I fire you, I can pocket the difference and upgrade my BMW to a Maserati, and add on another 8 room mansion." Instead, that oligarch's henchmen will sit down with the workers, cry a little with them, "Oh! I love you so much, my friends...we tried so hard to keep this going, but we couldn't, just couldn't compete with all the world...Darn that globalization! Here, have a donut, and don't hate me for this..."

For the last 15 years or so, your guy on the factory floor most likely lost his job to a Chinese manufacturer (about 80% of the losses since 2000). No "free trade" agreement there. Perhaps, some day, there will be, at which point, the managers can be stopped from playing workers against each other - but until then, they'll always exploit trade advantages. We need rules to set a stage where your worker has a fighting chance of getting a job back. Without those rules, his only option is to sell out to the oligarch and plead for a job.

Duncan Cairncross said...

donzelion

"For the last 15 years or so, your guy on the factory floor most likely lost his job to a Chinese manufacturer"

Disagree - the actual amount of manufacturing that has gone abroad while annoying is NOT the problem

The problem is a lack of demand in the USA caused by a lack of money by the population (the 90%)
Caused in turn by the 1% killing the unions

Blaming the Chinese is the equivalent of our hosts comment of "look squirrel"
Just an attempt to distract us from the real problem

donzelion said...

@I/O - "were it not for the leaks it probably wouldn't have been published at all until after the deal was done. Hardly speaks to it's democratic potential."
Nonsense. It was always planned for publication after the negotiations were concluded, and that has always been the practice with every free trade agreement we've adopted.

The whole "secretive negotiations" claim is a bad faith effort to fight free trade agreements as a whole - one that has worked quite often. As with any complex and difficult agreement that actually does anything in the real world, compromise and negotiation are required (e.g., the U.S. Constitution itself) - sometimes, the outcome has its share of warts (e.g., the 3/5ths clause) - but often, you're better off participating, even though that's much harder than sitting back and judging.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Opponents of the TPP are endorsing the U.S.-Chinese model of trade - they may not realize that their opposition will ensure perpetuation of the status quo of "race-to-the-bottom" wages, in both China and America. Chinese oligarchs and American oligarchs have benefited from this status quo immensely, and will go all out to perpetuate it.


Then why are the Republicans so gung-ho for it? And the Democrats (President Obama an exception duly noted) the ones in opposition? Somebody is doing a good game of "Please don't throw me in the briar patch!" I just don't know which party that is.

Duncan Cairncross said...

i/o said
"probably wouldn't have been published at all until after the deal was done."

As indeed happened - it was not published until AFTER all of the negotiations were complete

The result and document is complete and finished - the only options now are accept/reject

Legislation here (NZ) is usually published for comment, and comments are recorded and used to create a FINAL version which is sent to parliament for a vote

donzelion said...

@Duncan - "For the last 15 years or so, your guy on the factory floor most likely lost his job to a Chinese manufacturer"

Here's the sources of that claim:
David Autor, David Dorn & Gordon Hanson - http://economics.mit.edu/files/6613Justin Pierce & Peter Schott - http://faculty.som.yale.edu/peterschott/files/research/papers/pierce_schott_pntr_512.pdf
And the Economic Policy Institute (which does numerous reports, check 'em out at epi.org)

There's strong evidence American jobs have had a net loss as a result of import substitution from China. I'll accept their findings (ranging from 1 million to "at least" 5 million - EPI is also hostile to NAFTA, but suggests NAFTA's harms are much smaller than China's harms).

As for unions - here's a great article on that:

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/30/the_middle_class_myth_heres_why_wages_are_really_so_low_today/

No, I do not blame the Chinese as a whole. I do blame Chinese Oligarchs and American Oligarchs, who I believe to have colluded to exploit both the Chinese and the American public.

Treebeard said...

It's starting to look like it's the technocracy/plutocracy vs. everyone else at this point, with Trump one of the few high profile politicians willing to take on the former.

John Robb calls it the politics of the "Hollow State", with a ruling class that is uniting against the "left behinds" and the Trump Insurgency (see http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2016/03/the-hollow-state-politics-the-left-behinds-vs-technorati.html ). Not sure how this is gonna play out, but I'm pretty sure that calling people "racists" isn't gonna fly when the "left behinds" are people of all races. Playing the PC card is starting to look like a plutocrat's trick to silence dissent to me.

To me, Trump is the Revealer, exposing the total arrogance, cluelessness, conspiracy and hostility of the American elite, who apparently think insulting people who are struggling is going to stop the juggernaut that Trump has set in motion. I really don't think so -- some heads in high places are going have to roll before this storm blows over.

locumranch said...



Instead of being a 'miracle', NAFTA & Globalisation have improved the lot of once impoverished third-world economies by zero sum income redistribution, stealing from the once prosperous first-world middle class to give to the third-world poor, as evidenced by an (almost) 20% decline in US middle class aggregate income since 1969, off-set by & coupled with respective increases in middle class percentages in Mexico & Asia.

What a brilliant strategy to decrease illegal immigration!! Destroy the global economic gradient by elevating the third-world low while pulling down the first-world middle, leading to an economic equilibrium state & zero net migration, so we can all wallow in fair/equal/level economic poverty.

This I understand, but I am at a total loss when David cites the US First & Sixth Amendment as support for surveilling law enforcement. Since when did video become protected First Amendment speech? After Citizens United declared that 'Money equals Speech' because 'Video (porn) equals Money (shot)'?

And when did law ENFORCEMENT personnel become synonymous with a Judge, Jury or Accuser? Does the same Sixth Amendment right allow me to video & violate the privacy of everyone & anyone who may someday accuse me of something even before I become a 'criminal defendant'?


Best

donzelion said...

@Larry - Then why are the Republicans so gung-ho for it? And the Democrats (President Obama an exception duly noted) the ones in opposition?

Republicans aren't so gung ho - but their puppeteers like trade, and believe they're in the best position to compete. With the TPP, they should have increased confidence to target Japan, Korea, and other markets. Without it, they can keep targeting China. Nothing to lose, and potentially much to gain. Hence, begrudging support (but mock the president and his namby pamby additions, like environmental and labor provisions - that wasn't in NAFTA).

Democrats are strongly opposed because of labor unions (environmentalists and human rights activists are trying to stick with their largest coalition member, but their arguments are pretty weak). Labor unions (other than public servants like teachers) are threatened by globalization - and prefer isolationism. The problem for labor unions has been a failure to expand into new fields (e.g., fast food workers) - instead of broadening the sphere and proving value to workers, they have fought a rearguard action to hold onto their turf.

But on the TPP, it's a three-way struggle: Oligarchs see possibilities to exploit trade for their benefit, workers see risks of being exploited to their loss, and liberals spout principles that ultimately create the reality for both of the other sides - but seldom enrich or empower themselves or hold together a cohesive bloc.

David Brin said...

Har! Lumping "technocracy/plutocracy" is a classic gambit! Our feudalist ent knows that oligarchs now emit a stink that fills every nostril and can no longer be shrugged off, no matter how much they spend on shills at AEI/Fox/Heritage ... or Fanghorn Forest...

..so? Create a narrative of close association in hope of rubbing some of the stench onto the enemy of plutocracy and the only force they fear. Skilled people of knowledge. The "technocracy" -- (in fact an utterly loos network of millions of our brightest) -- has invented most of the new wealth for 50 years, has driven science forward against the sputum-bile tide of an outright war on smartypants. Above all the loose mesh of our smartest and best has what the plutocracy fears most -- the ability to shine light directly upon the neofeudal lords. No other force could hold them accountable or stymie their crude-animal-Darwinian reflex toward feudalism.

treebeard's tactic is contemptible and a shitfaced lie. But we need to get used to it. LOOK the fecal-visage in the eye and see how clever and desperate it is. The goal remains the same... kill the Enlightenment Experiment, at all cost and bring back the Bourbons, Romanovs, Hapsburgs, Ming, Hohenzollerns and all the other monsters.

Treebeard said...

And there's that arrogance I'm talking about. It's not a grand scheme to re-introduce monarchy or theocracy and overthrow the Enlightenment/Illuminati/New World Order with most people. But we get it, there is only one class that are of any real value; everyone else should be content repairing the roads and policing the streets and fighting the wars of the special snowflakes -- and not being racist, of course.

donzelion said...

@Locum - the whole point of trade is that it is not a zero sum income redistribution. A zero sum redistribution is more often called "theft."

"as evidenced by an (almost) 20% decline in US middle class aggregate income since 1969, off-set by & coupled with respective increases in middle class percentages in Mexico & Asia."

There has indeed been a drop in the middle class individual income (Reagan cheated by changing the terms to "household income" - which could hide falling real wages behind the fact that more households became dual income). Technology does play a role here, as does globalization. But the biggest factor that changed in the last 40 years has been the dramatic increase of compensation for the top 1% in America. In 1969, "average" CEOs might earn only 20-50x what their "line employees" earned and believe they'd been reasonably compensated - as opposed to 200-500x, the more common number today. To look to Mexico, China, or anywhere else for an explanation as to why is to misread the numbers.

As for this - Since when did video become protected First Amendment speech? - um, since the first time anyone recorded anyone making any form of statement in a video (including silent films). I've challenged Dr. Brin's suggestion of invoking the 6th Amendment earlier (and will await an answer), but the First still says what it always did.

LarryHart said...

I wonder if all those Republican contenders for the presidency who claimed they'd kill baby Hitler still feel that way. Especially one particular candidate.

LarryHart said...

locumranch, and then donzelion:

Since when did video become protected First Amendment speech?


Doesn't it make more sense to think it comes under "Freedom of the Press"? Which is also the First Amendment.

A conservative I used to argue with on another site used to laugh at the idea that pornographic magazines were "speech". My argument was always that it didn't matter whether or not magazines are "speech". They are part of "the press", and therefore, protected by the same amendment.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "We now have a situation in which a proto fascist like Donald Trump has the support of a substantial portion of the US in large part because so many people think the elected democrats and republicans are bought and payed for by the global oligarchs"

And therefore, being convinced that the oligarchs will always win, decided that it was in their interest to become uncle toms and to vote for one of the most blatantly parasitic of them all simply because he bluntly promises them preferential access to the scraps falling from his table in exchange for their abject submission.

Another bullshit political meme is that far-right voters are rebellious: they're not: they are submissive poltroons, kowtowing to one bully in the vain hope that he'll beat up the other kids.

***

* "Then why are the Republicans so gung-ho for it?"

Apart from the already stated fact that the oligarchs believe they'll find ways to subvert or ignore the parts of the treaties they don't like without repercussions, there's also the fact that they can't afford not to: the GOP still claims to be the party of responsible businessmen: sure, the Trumpologist crowd doesn't give a shit about the Republican elites' ideological fig leaves and will vote for the demagogue who promise them that someone else will be more screwed under his reign, but there's still enough voters who take these claim seriously to cripple the GOP electorally if it suddenly opposes a "free-trade" agreement.

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

And therefore, being convinced that the oligarchs will always win, decided that it was in their interest to become uncle toms and to vote for one of the most blatantly parasitic of them all simply because he bluntly promises them preferential access to the scraps falling from his table in exchange for their abject submission.


I don't think they even expect that much. It's sufficient that he promises to make the other politicians miserable. All they've got left to look forward to is revenge.


Another bullshit political meme is that far-right voters are rebellious: they're not: they are submissive poltroons, kowtowing to one bully in the vain hope that he'll beat up the other kids.


If I could muster any sympathy for Chris Christie, I'd be so embarrassed for him.

donzelion said...

Larry - the 'freedom of the press' is usually invoked in discussions about libel, or similar efforts to restrict or punish the publication/distribution of content (or compel them to make statements they don't want to make - e.g., the "right of reply"). 'Freedom of speech' has largely become a discussion about what, if any, content can the government restrict?

They certainly overlap (e.g., in the dissemination of pornography). Hugh Hefner played the "freedom of press" angle - adding lots of articles to his magazines so that efforts to restrict 'obscenity' would also blot out press freedom. Larry Flynt played the "freedom of speech" angle - which forced the court to try to define obscenity (resulting, eventually, in them mostly abandoning the effort, or limiting 'unprotected speech' to specific categories - e.g., 'fighting words,' 'kiddie porn,' and 'imminent calls to violence').

But always, certain "acts of speech" are not protected the same way as the message itself. Protesters have a right to assemble and a right to speak - and cannot be silenced by means of a 'heckler's veto' (a large crowd that attacks the speaker, and then blames the speaker for 'disturbing the peace') - BUT they cannot exercise their rights on the middle of a freeway. This is unsettled, tricky territory - shooting a police officer with a gun is certainly not 'protected speech' - but what about a camera? Could that interfere with performing law enforcement duties?

LarryHart said...

Treebeard didn't quite say:

It's starting to look like it's the Jews vs. everyone else at this point, with Hitler one of the few high profile politicians willing to take on the former.

Duncan Cairncross said...

donzelion

Labour Unions were not killed by "globalization"
They were killed - and failed to spread to the new jobs by the "Big Lie" propaganda victory of the 0.1%
That managed to persuade a huge number of people that the unions that had delivered a good life to them and their parents were somehow some sort of evil anti-American monsters

That propaganda victory plus the legal victories in limiting union power and increasing the power of the owners killed the unions

Globalization and technology did not help but were not anything like the main contributors

Alfred Differ said...

Theft is more likely to be a negative sum game. People who feel violated spend wealth on protection. Those costs are usually sunk for good.

Jumper said...

I am not a Constitutional scholar but I'm not sure the 1st Amendment is a guarantor of unfettered observation. I'd go with the 4th, secure "effects" meaning cameras. I have the right under the 4th to hold and use my camera in a public place and retain the right to keep the resultant recording and any duplicates thereof.

Too bad you are barely able to make a clear point, locumranch. You'd be more useful.

BTW even with placing China on some lesser tier than "most favored nation" a positive sum trade agreement is possible, or has been possible.

Treebeard, are you a racist? It's a simple question. They do exist, so why the sneering? Or do you deny the existence of bigotry altogether? If so, that's very interesting.I recall your view of tribalism seemed to me to indicate you feel it's inborn or intrinsic to humans. I think that's true to some extent, but certain realities convince me your view is simplistic to the point of indicating some version of cognitive problem of yours. On this continent various tribes adopted many members with far flung genetic origins. One tribe is the military. Football teams. Iroquois. The list is long.

Alfred Differ said...

Funny thing about that 'big lie' is that quite a number of intelligent people don't see it as a lie. Some of us feel that some unions effectively became the monsters they were born to fight.

People are people. It is important to think about what it takes to become a leader since the oligarchs and the unions require them to operate.

Jumper said...

Theft is obviously negative sum. The stolen goods are usually sold at discount and the thief acquires a wanted poster with his picture on it.

donzelion said...

@Duncan - In America, I would blame a confluence of factors - the propaganda machine surely didn't help, but workers are smart enough to overcome propaganda, unless something else (fear, rage) intrudes. Technology and globalization, I believe, played a larger role than propaganda - they set the fundamentals to which firms had to respond, while the propaganda just set the tone and the pace of that response.

The Salon article I linked to earlier has a pretty good story -

http://www.salon.com/2013/12/30/the_middle_class_myth_heres_why_wages_are_really_so_low_today/

-but it does not dwell upon the union-busting tactics of, say, franchise operators. It's a factor. All are important.

One factor that is usually overlooked is the "international" side of the various union movements: they like to pay lip service to being 'international,' but vested, professional union managers in America would be quite threatened if non-U.S. workers in the factories threatened their power base. But I can see a day coming when workers on both sides of the border in the same firm will stand together, coordinated by instant translation and a panoply of video phones and other tools - and rein in managers. So could the managers: hence their move to China.

donzelion said...

@Jumper/Alfred - Re "zero sum game" - conceded.

@Jumper - Re 1st Amendment - you're right, it is unsettled. We need to protect the "act of recording" - not merely the "content that is recorded." However, the 4th doesn't get us there either - it protects against "unreasonable" searches and seizures - so all that would be needed was a state law that said, "Filming police officers threatens their lives and jobs, and is therefore prohibited" - and the 4th's protections would evaporate.

Either we can house the "right to record the police" as an outgrowth of 1st Amendment speech rights (concede: it's a stretch to a new context, but not that big a stretch) - OR we work from a penumbra of rights (the same way the "right of privacy" was first espoused). But the penumbral reasoning resulted in Roe v. Wade - adopting that approach in other contexts is apt to call in stiff opposition. Hence, my focus (were I representing the parties in Pennsylvania) would be on the 1st Amendment.

"BTW even with placing China on some lesser tier than "most favored nation" a positive sum trade agreement is possible, or has been possible."

I assert that a "positive sum trade" has always been underway with China. But the beneficiaries of that positive sum are very restricted. A better arrangement may be possible, but will take extreme effort (just as it's taken decades to get there with Japan in the TPP).

David Brin said...

donzel, the Sixth is essential. How can an accused citizen call upon exculpatory evidence that the police destroyed or refused to allow to exist? The default case must be allowing open and recorded witnessing, with the proof burden on those who would legislate exceptions.

The First defends my right to speak. The Sixth defends my right to exist.

==
As for our termite-souled ent. There is ALWAYS a grand scheme to 're-introduce monarchy or feudalism or theocracy,' because human males are all descended from the harems of oppressor assholes who succeeded at that project, time and again, across 10,000+ years. The miracle is that a third or so of our billionaires actually DON'T seek a return of feudalism! The ones who took joy in inventing goods and services instead of parasitism... democrats or libertarians, all.

Many of the rest are seeking to cheat their way to heights that are above all accountability, acting out of genetic reflex while calling themselves mentally superior. That you would deny such a surge is happening right now, amid the greatest skyrocketing of unaccounted wealth and influence and disparity since the 1920s, proves utterly your deceit, either to us or to yourself. (I would lay money on the latter.)

“But we get it, there is only one class that are of any real value;” Stunning. Dig it, fellah. A child of a ditch digger will, in an enlightenment nation, have a chance to compete and join the highest ranks of a meritocracy… and there are many loose meritocracies featuring multiple, parallel ladders, none more open to fresh blood than science. Exactly opposite to 99% of human societies in which it was all noble families and screw talent.

The very standards by which you mewl against the competitive-flat-open-fair meritocracies are THEIR values. You scribble-scrabble to call us oppressive elites when we are the only ones who ever fought against unfair inherited elitism.

Your screed boils down to one thing. The lords you can abide, the way confederates obeyed yes-massa plantation lords, because there's something romantic about a royal line. But you despise the meritocratic elites because they are simply and verifiably smarter than you are. And your daughter , if she has the talent, will have opportunities to hurry off and join them. And she very likely will.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - The "right to counsel" part of the 6th is crucial, but there's just no basis for deriving the "right to record the police" from the Confrontation Clause.

The wording is: "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against him."

(1)The right attaches only to the accused. By its wording, it does not extend rights to the community, but instead, guides in the process of implementing a trial. That defendant (through counsel) "enjoys the right" - not the general public.
(2) As the right belongs to the accused, the public cannot interject itself into the trial save by the accused's request. They have no rights in this context, at least, none arising from those words.
(3) The right only arises in criminal trials (unlike the 2nd Amendment, the first clause is still linked to the rest of the sentence for this amendment). That means (a) no help in a civil context (e.g., when bringing a claim of police misconduct against an officer - almost always a civil claim, since it's so freakin' hard to indict a police officer), and
(b) no help in a plea bargaining context (95+% of criminal charges are pleaded out)
(4) The nature of the arrest is a relevant legal factor in a minority of criminal matters. So while one might always want to have video footage of one's arrest to challenge the police conduct during the apprehension, this is very seldom the matter one seeks to "confront."

For all those reasons, I think the 6th is compatible with a view that there is a "right to record the police" - but not a solid foundation for such a right, and certainly, not critical for your existence. Should you ever reach the point where you need it, so many other rights must have come into effect and operation first that it wouldn't make sense to rely on this one.

Are there plenty of hypothetical cases where it could be important? Certainly. But defendants have survived the criminal justice system for a long time before video records were feasible. These records are important and meaningful acts of speech, which should be protected accordingly (and the right to "speak" is the right to "think" - which, to borrow Descartes - is the right to at least know you exist). ;)

Duncan Cairncross said...

Funny thing about that 'big lie' is that quite a number of intelligent people don't see it as a lie. Some of us feel that some unions effectively became the monsters they were born to fight.

There you go - its such a BIG LIE that even normally intelligent people get taken in!

If a useful tool gets abused - like an axe used to murder then the solution is NOT to complain about Axes - it is to take them away from the murderers

Unknown said...

Dave said shit.

Answer: resource-based economy. Jacque Fresco. In SF, Iain M. Banks.

http://spectrum.ieee.org/automaton/robotics/industrial-robots/sri-micro-robots-can-now-manufacture-their-own-tools

Soon.....


Yours,

A Culture Mind

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I don't think they even expect that much. It's sufficient that he promises to make the other politicians miserable. All they've got left to look forward to is revenge."

They've not yet reached the revanchist phase. In fact, here's another pet theories of mine (I have plenty of these): politically, non-upper-class people go through three phases:

* The Content Phase: when they perceive the system as fair enough, they remain reasonably optimistic, politically moderate, don't see elections as life & death battlegrounds and for the most part don't give a shit about demagogues' rhetorics

* The Spineless Phase: when they conclude (often rightly) that the system is rigged against them, but do not dare to openly challenge the cheating oligarchs: here they are cynical, convinced that it's impossible to reform the system or to overthrow it, and start looking for a domineering bully to submit to in exchange of meager advantages over their neighbors. They are toward the demagogues aggressive rhetorics, not because they unironically believe these, but because they perceive the bully's aggressiveness as strength and willpower ("s/he looks so pissed, clearly s/he means business!") and because -since Humans by and large hate being called yellow (especially when it's true)- they hope they hope to disguise their own resigned servility as rebelliousness by mimicking their demagogue's angry tone

* The Revanchist Phase: when the system has become so corrupt and inept that even its most submissive subjects are risking starvation (see 1788 France, 1916 Russia, 2010 Syria) and/or when the bullying and abuses from the lords and their enforcers has become so widespread that even obedient lackeys aren't insulated from the danger of being mistreated by their masters on a whim: That is when revanchism becomes widespread, and fascistic demagogues lose their brown-nosed audience to the Robespierres and the Trotskies and the Baghdadis and all those who are serious about delivering to their followers the vengeful catharsis promised.

***

* "If I could muster any sympathy for Chris Christie, I'd be so embarrassed for him.

I have no sympathy for the likes of Christie either, but it is wise to remember that bullies start by beating up the kids nobody like: it's a way for them to test the waters (bullying your way to the top isn't a smart strategy when punching even the unpopular kids leads one to the receiving end of swift retaliation) and to accustom people to their behavior so they can crank it up later: First they came for the blowhard right-wing douchebags and all that.

***

* "There is ALWAYS a grand scheme to 're-introduce monarchy or feudalism or theocracy,' because human males are all descended from the harems of oppressor assholes"

And what about, you know, Women? Human Girls aren't born from Parthenogenesis: they too are descended from the same parasitic oppressor assholes, and there's no way in hell that the Y chromosome alone caused widespread complex behaviors.
More likely, feudalism is the consequence of preexisting aspects of the human psyche: Humans bent to knees to armed bullies at first because they were instinctively conflict averse, which proved that bullying was profitable (at least at first, until abuses pilling-up caused anger to flare and override conflict aversion). Would-be barons propping up generation after generation are way more likely to be a consequence of early successful bullies leaving a deep mark on Humans cultures and affecting Humanity's collective imagination for the worse than the result of some genetic determinism.

Deuxglass said...

When you get down to it, many voters see that globalization pushed by both parties has not worked well for them or their families. The Democrats and the Republicans have had a whole generation of trying it out and it has been found wanting from the personal point of view of large swaths of the population. If something has worked very well for the few but not for the many, then can you blame people if they reject the politicians who still advocate it? Trump and Bernie are getting the moderate republicans and democrats even though they might believe strongly in God or not, are against abortion or not, or are for gun control or not. Why is that? Many lament the fact that the parties have become too polarized to cooperate anymore on important legislation. It seems to me that the voters are saying loud and clear that they reject the politicians who brought this about. They want moderation and cooperation and reject the “ideological purity” stance taken by the Republican and Democrat elites. The voters are saying to cooperate and fix the problems and stop fucking around playing political games.

Incrementalism doesn’t work anymore because it creates too many loopholes. Those loopholes are put in by interest groups who by their outsized campaign contributions have privileged access and influence over Congress and the President. The party elites suffer from the “Stockholm Syndrome”. They are so accountable to the special interests that they truly believe that they have power to influence them when in reality they don’t. Anyone who has experience in business knows that the best way to increase your margins is to make the product complicated and difficult to understand so your client cannot calculate how much your company is screwing them. Financial companies are masters at this and this principle has been applied to legislation. Make the law very complicated, difficult to understand and you create lots of ways for companies to exploit loopholes to generate economic superprofits. Justify it by saying that the real world is complex and it’s best to leave to us experts. Just trust us.

For those who like to compare Trump to Hitler I can only say “get real”. There are no brown shirts and jack-booted crowds systematically beating up opponents. The “Art of a Deal” is not “Mein Kampf”. The United States now is not 1920’s Germany. The Germans had no political experience with democracy, had just lost a devastating war and a total collapse of its economy all at the same time. You cannot even begin to compare the two. The US has over 200 years of democracy, an economy, although under pressure, is still formidable and has not been shattered by war. The US has lots of checks and balances that Germany lacked and Americans have never given their leaders a blank check. Never! Make no mistake, I do not like Trump as a person. He has big ego problems but ego problems tend to run in politicians. Clinton has entitlement issues and troubling things like wearing baby-blue contact lenses for the last 30 years to cover up her naturally brown eyes. Why does she do that?? She is as weird as Trump in my book.

What we are seeing is democracy in action. The party elites have had a whole generation to get things right and they have failed but strangely enough, they want to get an A+ for trying but not an F- for not delivering. It looks like the voters want to shake things up in a big way. It has happened in the past several times in the elections of 1828, 1860, 1904, 1932, 1960 and 1980. Major changes occurred after those elections and we came out stronger, and I think the same thing will happen again this time.

raito said...

With regards to unions and 'new wealth', one of the things that happened is that the very professions that made that wealth possible got classified as exempt from overtime. Right there is a pretty strong dagger in the heart of any union. And as for public unions, WI has Act 10. Which someone really ought to make a court case out of (or a better one).

My thoughts on unions are pretty complex. But I find that banning them runs afoul of the freedom to assemble. But I have a rather wide view of what is meant by 'assembly'.

Dr. Brin,

Highest ranks?

I often wish that I took notes on everything I see, hear, and read. Unfortunately, I don't. So I can't cite the authors whose research I hear a little while back. These people specifically researched how much further economically children got than their parents. And for all practical purposes, there's a limit. You may get a very extreme outlier like Steve Jobs. But for every one of him, you have several like Bill Gates or Donald Trump, who started very well off from the start and moved forward from there.

You can say they have a chance, and I won't dispute that the avenue is better at least open rather than closed. But the children of the poor have as much chance of becoming wealthy as I do of becoming the next Elvis.

One interesting thing that came up was that there's additional pressure on the children of the poor who manage a decent income that is generally not present from the middle class on up. Those children spent a disproportionate amount of their wealth on their (poor) extended family, which partially negates the success they had.

David Brin said...

donzel are you aware of what you just did? You cited two parts of the 6th Amendment … yet blatantly left out entirely the portion that applies!
“; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor”

It is the most aggressively pro-truth and pro-citizen phrase in the entire Constitution, and it totally applies to the issue at-hand.

===
Deuxglass, sorry. I am a leading voice against oligarchy, as you know. But it requires more internationalism and globalism, not less. One major treaty, banning secret banking and commanding transparency of ownership, would set back the oligarchic putsch on its heels. Have free trade agreements had some effects on US manufacturing? Sure and I’d change US tax laws to reward home investment and disincentivize out-production.

But I can look at a map. A middle class North America is defensible and sustainable. A 2000 mile wall vs an impoverished Mexico is not. There are no higher priorities for a visionary/pragmatic and forward-looking USA than to help bootstrap a middle class Mexico. A second Canada to our south. One that is compelled by treaty to upgrade its labor and environmental laws and whose kids are upgrading education rapidly.

The American consumer has uplifted 3 billion people out of grinding poverty. And meanwhile there’s a rising power to the East that needs to be reminded that bullying its neighbors is a bad idea. Sorry, I deem the burden of proof to fall on those who despise trade agreements.

===
Is Trumpism much milder than fascism? Yes! So far. But QUALITATIVELY there are strong parallels. The owner-caste created a know nothing rightwing movement of frothing, illogical rage that they felt oh so sure they could control… till someone else grabbed the reins.

====
raito, I said the highest ranks of MERITOCRACIES, like science.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - my points apply equally to both the Confrontation Clause and to the Subpoena Clause - all the subclauses in the 6th only "attach" when you become an "accused" in a criminal prosecution, and the rights are conferred exclusively upon the accused. Once one becomes an 'accused' (or a defendant), then these rights will indeed help protect that person's existence.

Miranda v. Arizona explores the limits of the 6th nicely. Up til Miranda, when a person was arrested, the police could beat a confession out of someone in their custody (or turn their backs and let other prisoners do it for them). No criminal charges would be filed yet, so no rights under the 6th. With Miranda, the Court derived a separate 'right to counsel' from the 5th 'right to remain silent.' That meant that once a suspect invokes Miranda rights, any statements they extract before your counsel arrives cannot be used in a case-in-chief to convict you at trial.

(In pop culture, 'Miranda warnings' are about police procedures at the time of arrest to keep silly judges from letting bad guys go - in legal culture, they're about setting ground rules for what police can do while you're in custody...with an eye toward forcing the police to investigate before bringing any criminal charges, rather than just torturing suspects into confessing.)

Still, the 5th, even under Miranda, only extends the rights of the accused to counsel when a person is brought into police custody. That moves things back earlier in the process, but not all the way to the time BEFORE arrest. And even then, the rights are narrowly tailored ("counsel" - rather than "general public" - because much of the time, the general public wants to lynch the accused, rather than step forward as witnesses in his defense).

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Is Trumpism much milder than fascism? Yes! So far. But QUALITATIVELY there are strong parallels. The owner-caste created a know nothing rightwing movement of frothing, illogical rage that they felt oh so sure they could control… till someone else grabbed the reins.


I don't suspect Trump would build death camps. I'm not so sure about some of his rabid followers, though. It worries me how much he seems to intentionally invoke images of Hitler and 1920s-30s Nazism. I mean, the seig-heils and the beating up outsiders at his rallies? The threatening toward political opponents? His doubling down on how we should use torture? I find it inconceivable that he's using that sort of imagery without knowing what it will make Americans think of.

So I see one of three possibilities:

1) Trump really is a fascist.
2) Trump is that guy in the episode of Star Trek who thought that he could unify the planet he crash landed on by remaking their society after the fashion of Nazi Germany
3) Trump really is trying to lose the election and nothing he does is working for him, so in a last-ditch attempt at desperation, he's embracing the KKK and the Nazis, and even that isn't getting the job done.

I pray for 3), not only because I predicted it a long time back, but also because it's the least dangerous option going forward.

If it's 2), it means Trump could lose control of his followers just as the GOP has lost control of Trump.

If it's 1), and he wins the election, then it's Martin Sheen in "The Dead Zone", with Christie as the guy who threatens to cut the general's hand off to activate the nukes if the general doesn't do so voluntarily.

locumranch said...



Most definitely, the world is messed up when the likes of Jumper & I agree on anything, and we do agree (seemingly) that Video Observation can hardly be construed as protected First Amendment Speech (nor can it be construed as a press-related freedom when most video footage is not intended for public consumption).

It is also problematic to insist that the Sixth Amendment supports video sousveillance when it serves to precede & prevent criminal accusations, so much so that the very act of videoing law enforcement activities (in advance) implies premeditation & criminal INTENT on the part of the sousveilling individual.

A much better constitutional defence for Video Sousveillance (imo) would be the Second Amendment (and its implied right to 'self-defence') as Video Sousveillance is most often portrayed as a defensive WEAPON intended to deter against (and punish) potentially abusive authorities.

Video is hardly an Objective Media --- being rife with Perspective Bias --- as any student of film & 'studio magic' can attest, meaning that video 'evidence' can be used & misconstrued to condemn as well as exculpate, depending on the intent & 'spin' of the viewer.*

The arguments that (1) Globalism SHOULD benefit Labour, (2) Internationalism SHOULD discourage Oligarchy and (2) Uplifted Third-Worlders SHOULD welcome generous First-Worlders as 'Liberators' are just additional examples of Verbal 'Spin' & 'No True Scotsman' Fallacies, designed to distort individual perspective, win argument & defy empiric evidence to the contrary.


Best
_____
*As Video Sousveillance tends to condemn more often than exculpate, wouldn't its use tend to violate the Fifth Amendment?

Deuxglass said...


Free trade is a good thing if all partners use the same rules. The US has rightly allowed countries favored access to US markets to strengthen a good part of the developing world’s economies and thereby greatly facilitated the lifting out of poverty massive amount s as people. It was in our self-interest and not too many people complained but at some point the burden becomes too heavy especially when we are the only ones following rules. The Terms of Trade have turned negative for the US for a long time now and no country, no matter how powerful, can survive such a negative outflow of wealth of such proportions and remain influential. We have reached the point of diminishing returns and doubling down on the same policy will eventually be a disaster. Conditions have changed. East Asia is for a good part developed and, because of our policies, has run up huge surpluses that make no economic sense either to us or to them. When condition change, a good policy can become a bad policy. Free trade with NAFTA is fine. After all, they are our direct neighbors as is Central and South America. We can handle the imbalances but to blindly adhere to something, which is clearly hurting many of our citizens is asinine. John Maynard Keynes said, "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" The facts have changed.

LarryHart said...

Deuxglass:

There are no brown shirts and jack-booted crowds systematically beating up opponents.


Maybe not as widespread as in Germany, but people have been beaten at Trump rallies, and many more have been "escorted" out as Trump taunts "Get him/her outta here!" or "Don't give him his coat!", to the delight of the stoked up crowd.

I'm not saying Trump is at Hitler level right now, but Hitler wasn't there yet in the early 1920s either. I the direction I see things moving in...disturbing.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Video Observation can hardly be construed as protected First Amendment Speech (nor can it be construed as a press-related freedom when most video footage is not intended for public consumption).


You're equating the video with the published newspaper page. Think of it more like the reporter's notes or old-style tape recording.


A much better constitutional defence for Video Sousveillance (imo) would be the Second Amendment (and its implied right to 'self-defence') as Video Sousveillance is most often portrayed as a defensive WEAPON intended to deter against (and punish) potentially abusive authorities.


Interesting, as the Second Amendment doesn't mention guns at all. It protects the "right to bear arms". So if money is speech, maybe cameras are arms.

It doesn't seem to follow from the "well regulated militia being necessary...". Darn that originalist language!

matthew said...

Deauxglass, I'd like some examples of "ideological purity" enforced by Democratic elites. I think you are falling into the "both sides do it" logical fallacy of false equivalence. But I could be wrong on your intent, so, examples please. I'd like to see what the Democratic equivalent to the Hastert Rule is.

******

I suspect that Trump really is what he appears. He is a damn fascist, and really does enjoy the violence at his command / suggestion. I suspect he gets an emotional high from the power. Trump is a bully and bullies do their bullying in part for the fun of it. The violence at Trump rallies? Another Trump(TM) Product. And the crowds? A lynching was a fun family event 100+ years ago in America. Just more of the Greatness that Trump is bringing America back to.

The amazing part will be watching all the Republicans who denounced Trump in the Primary season join Chris Christie in endorsing Trump in the General Election. Fox News has already thrown in their lot with Trump. I bet Rubio will be next, aiming for a VP slot after he drops out of the race.

I've already heard "At least Trump isn't Clinton." more than a dozen times in the last week here in good old liberal Oregon. I do not know a single person that has stated that they will switch from voting Republican to Democratic when Trump gets the nomination. The populace is too indoctrinated to consider such a switch. Better a fascist Trump than a moderate Democrat in office.

Jumper said...

Recently I read a proposal to clarify the meaning of "the press" in a world where now anyone can be a journalist. It suggested that we should shift mental gears and think about a concept called "committing an act of journalism." Presumably paid journalists commit this act daily; some of us occasionally, and some never.

In this light, the 1st becomes more relevant than I first presumed.

donzelion said...

@Locum - your proposal re the 2nd Amendment is logically and legally sound, if one accepts
(1) that for legal purposes, a "camera" is type of "armament" (a proposition for which there is ample support), and
(2) the Scalia reading of the 2nd Amendment, in which the 'well regulated militia' part is just 'extra wording inserted for grins and giggles by incompetent legislators who didn't really mean it.' If one does accept Scalia's reading, then the 2nd Amendment is an "absolute right" that applies to all of "the people" - including public citizens - at all times (unlike the 5th and 6th Amendments). If one does not endorse Scalia's reading (which is currently the law of the land after all), then the 2nd Amendment rights are vested in militias, rather than citizens.

America has never treated cameras as a type of 'armament' - but other countries do (esp. Saudi Arabia).

The problem is still the same: no amendment clearly confers a "right to record the police" - not the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 9th, and/or 14th. Which creates a choice for a judge:
(A) Rule that without strict textual support, no such right exists (a "strict constructionist" reading, which is as often politically 'liberal' as it is 'conservative'), OR
(B) Derive the right from some other source (e.g., from the "penumbras and emanations" of these amendments...as was done in Griswold v Connecticut to reach a "right of marital privacy" to strike down a Connecticut law criminalizing possession of condoms...but which culminated in Roe v. Wade).

Alfred Differ said...

I don’t think it is about amendment #1 or #6, but both are connected. When I record the police, I’m claiming to have a right to BECOME a witness and be subject to the compulsory process of amendment #6. I’m also claiming to have a right to collect material to be used for speech, press, or assembly purposes BEFORE actually exercising my rights under amendment #1.

We are solidly in amendment #9 grounds here, but since that is fundamentally unenforceable, we are trying to shoe-horn this into one of the others.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I’m willing to consider that I’ve been taken in, but I’m also willing to consider that you have by a different lie. If you want union protection, I won’t get in your way if in return you don’t impose union protection on me when I don’t want it. There is a negative externality wrt closed union shops to which I have been subjected personally, so this isn’t an exercise in liberal theory for me.

LarryHart said...

matthew:

I suspect that Trump really is what he appears. He is a damn fascist, and really does enjoy the violence at his command / suggestion. I suspect he gets an emotional high from the power.


PaulSB will laugh at me for mentioning a comic book. But I saw some great insight into what power really is in an issue of Frank Miller's "Sin City" comic. The corrupt and powerful Senator Roark (and I suspect the Ayn Randist name is intentional) explains the facts of life to the cop who shot Roark's son. Paraphrasing: "I could shoot you here in this hospital room and a hundred people would swear they saw me somewhere else at the time, just as they did when I beat my wife to death with a baseball bat. I wouldn't even have to ask. They'd just do it."

The fact that people will lie and otherwise act on your behalf without you even having to ask is the sign that you've really arrived in the power game.


Trump is a bully and bullies do their bullying in part for the fun of it. The violence at Trump rallies? Another Trump(TM) Product. And the crowds? A lynching was a fun family event 100+ years ago in America. Just more of the Greatness that Trump is bringing America back to.


You're reminding me of a conversation several years ago where someone claimed that, in the Middle Ages, one of the appeals of Heaven was that you could look down upon Hell and watch the damned being tortured. I presume this is one of those "There are two kinds of people" things, because the idea revolts me personally, and would not be an inducement. But I gather that the type who gets turned on at Nazi or KKK or Trump rallies really would enjoy that sort of thing, and kiss up to authorities in order to get the prize.

Alfred Differ said...

mmm... Regarding trade with China benefiting an elite group only... I rather doubt it.

I've no doubt that the elite profits more in a system with no formal rules because that is a no-brainer. Formal rules emerge, though, and support success for the traders involved. Predictable trade is the goal of these rules. The rules that benefit a wider group beyond elites usually have to be imposed from the outside and then prove also to be successful at creating predictable trade. Essentially, a new group wants to be among the elite and forces their way in.

Regarding Chinese trade, the rules are certainly lighter on those involved, but the benefit goes far beyond them. The elite profits immensely, but I profit to some degree too. Everyone does because the market inflates. David's picture of pyramid societies turning into diamond societies shows part of this, but a more complete symbol would show the pyramid starting as a tiny thing and inflating in size as it turned into a diamond. It's not just that people move up in the power they can exercise. The amount of power TO BE exercised increases too. US trade with China has done that for both sides and much of the rest of the world too.

Berial said...

I think a lot of Trump's followers simply believe that both parties have presided over 30-40 years of workers becoming worse off, and they are sick of it. Sure there's lots of racism and some fascism there too, but as this Guardian article mentions, TRADE seems to be a pretty big deal that no one mentions about Trump and his political speeches. I think these people are WRONG about trade being what's screwing them over (I believe it's more to do with our tax code and the way we do Executive pay) but they are NOT WRONG when they believe they've been getting the short end of the stick. They are voting for the guy that's telling him he'll change the thing that they hate, and they follow eagerly.

David Brin said...

donzel, if the state acts to erase the possible existence of record s that would otherwise be available to enable me to exculpate myself, then that creates a presumptive burden upon my ability to practically apply my 6th Amendment right to use the factual truth in my own defense. Again, this is about my most fundamental right of all, not to be erased by a state that lies.

Shattering surprise. I agree with… choke… locumranch that cameras are the logical extension of “bearing arms” under the 2nd Amendment.

LarryHart you do know that I deem Frank Miller to be pretty darn evil. He preaches against even the possibility of a citizen-based civilization, with the relentlessness of a shrike.

Unknown said...

I see the usual dork sausage fest is in full swing.

On that note, notice there seem to be no female participants. Not just for the usual reasons, but arguably because they are genetically ordained to follow culture's line. For without culture, they are non-entities. And - while popcul would like to, and like you to thin, otherwise - females are not inclined to literally stand and fight....except for some of those who munch carpet.

Of course, of note is that there is no developed non-organic entity in Dave's fiction (a reason I've left his readership), so it's no wonder none of you think beyond your humanity.

yours,

A Culture Mind

Jumper said...

Cameras aren't arms. If you point a camera at a cop he doesn't have the right to kill you. If you point a gun at him, he does.

Jumper said...

Unknown, you're locumranch's sister, right?
Go away, no slimy girls allowed!

donzelion said...

@Deuxglass - shifting from "right to record" back to TPP -

"no country, no matter how powerful, can survive such a negative outflow of wealth of such proportions and remain influential."

Hmmm...let's explore that a second. Say Microsoft USA produces Microsoft Office, then sells it to Microsoft Ireland, then "imports" Microsoft Office from Microsoft Ireland. Every time an American buys Microsoft Office, they are thus increasing the "trade deficit" - but form Microsoft's perspective, they aren't hurt by this whatsoever. Similarly, if GM buys parts from GM China, or from factories which GM owns or controls in China, then that also contributes to the trade deficit - but GM itself isn't hurt at all. You're not hurt by this either - you get a discount on the same goods.

This is why the discussion about trade has to go beyond the "national interest" level - and look to the Oligarchs (and ultimately, corporations are bigger oligarchs than any others). It is less "the U.S. is losing to China!" - and never "Our generosity uplifts others at our own expense!" - but rather, it is always "our wealthy arbitrage the trade rules and pocket the bulk of the benefits!"

Labor cost differentials, tax differentials, government subsidies, all these add up to 30-40% of the profit they get from arbitraging the system. The main advantages are control over the production/distribution, which yields 50-60% of the profits (the last 10-20% comes from rents - typically royalties or patent licenses, occasionally actual rents). The negative effects of this system are that the oligarchs can reduce their tax base in America, and reduce the employment base in America to some extent (they still need someone to employ Americans, because they need to sell the products to somebody...).

So: how do we alleviate this problem of arbitrage by insiders for their own benefit?

(1) Proposal one: stop the whole game, and revert to isolationism. (This is the preferred tactic of many labor unions...)
(2) Proposal two: maintain the status quo, reject the TPP, hold out for "something better." (This is the outcome of skeptics who don't like the current situation, but will prevent any action to change it until they trust everyone enough...which will never happen.)
(3) Proposal three: broaden the base rules, and eliminate certain common types of arbitrage (by adopting something like the TPP)

I like the Keynes logic - but if the "facts have changed" - why are people endorsing the status quo by rejecting the TPP? Even if it's not perfect, if it eliminates a few problems, it's an improvement.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - "Regarding trade with China benefiting an elite group only... I rather doubt it.
Well, it does benefit the broader community when it creates lower priced products. I like it that my laptop costs $1000 today, and does more than the one that cost $2000 15 years ago, even if a much larger number of its components come from China now than they did back then. I'm $1000 better off.

But other than price advantages, the losses to the broader community are
(1) tax revenue
(2) income base and job safety
(3) missed opportunity costs (e.g., all the small businesses that used to support my laptop get driven out of business, replaced by a 'disposable commodity' industry)

The value of those losses to the broader community doesn't disappear - this is NOT a zero sum game. But that value will be captured. By someone in a position to capture it. Who will be in the elite.

Robert said...

The bit about the "at least Trump isn't Hillary" is my entire case as to why I prefer Sanders to Clinton as the Democratic candidate.

Because those same people who will vote for Trump because he's not Hillary... will vote for Sanders instead of Trump or may even just not bother voting at all... because at least Hillary isn't the candidate.

I am reminded of an old quote that went something like "hate has a reason for everything; it is love that is unreasonable." Well... that's not exactly true. Hate comes up with reasons for everything, but ultimately cannot be reasoned with. And a lot of people have been poisoned by the Right to Hate Hillary.

This can bite the Republican Party in the ass... as it did in 2008. Because Obama was not Hillary. The Hate Machine could not gear up enough in time to motivate voters to despise Obama like they despised Hillary. And if Sanders gets in?

You'll see history repeat itself.

Because the people who will drag themselves out to vote against Hillary don't give two toots about Sanders. In fact, he says things a lot of them agree with. So how does the Republican Hate Machine cope with this? How can they, in just a few months, get as much hatred for Sanders with his views lower-class Republican voters agree with, as they have for Hillary?

They can't.

This is why Sanders is the better candidate.

Though again, take my comments with a spoonful of salt seeing I will not be voting for Sanders. I will be voting Libertarian.

Rob H.

Deuxglass said...

Mathew,

You bring up a good question. Are both part elites concerned about ideological purity or is one more moderate than the other is? The Republican elite is way out of bounds. If you do not believe in capital punishment, no gun control, no abortion, must go to church every day, and then you are not a true Republican and therefor you are morally inferior. Democrat elites have their own form of purity. Need I mention how Madeline Albright describes what happens to women who don’t vote the way she wishes or the proliferation of ad hoc “thought police” groups that have been cropping up attacking anyone who has a dissenting opinion? What about Hillary Clinton’s silence about the Charlie Hebo attacks in Paris? Her silence shows that free speech is not important to her, as it isn’t for many elites in her party. If you do not accept the totality of their ideas, then they consider you as morally inferior. Look at both the debates. The Republicans get into this “I am holier than thou” and the Democrats get into “I am more progressive than thou” mode. Personally, I really doubt that Cruz and Rubio drop to their knees every night imploring God with tears in their eyes or that Clinton and Sanders kiss an image of Marx before sleeping but I do think that they all are caught up in a political process that has gone wild and do not have much basis in reality anymore. They have become the extremes and they want eat the middle whom they see as being sheep and when the sheep don’t go along they blame the sheep! The sheep become “bad people” in their eyes. If the middle wants moderation and cooperation, they are seen as traitors to whatever the extremes pretend to believe. It’s totally hallucinatory.

Deuxglass said...

Donzelion,

You are saying that a flawed treaty is better than no treaty at all but is that true? Fatal flaws in a treaty are what destroy the intent of a treaty. You assume that once signed, all parties will adhere to its statutes with good faith but I contest that. I think that the parties will find the loopholes and drive trucks through them as they have had before.

I like to follow the money trail. China has accumulated US$ 3.23 trillion in reserves and Japan around $1254. I am not saying at all that that was “stolen” from the US. That’s would be a stupid statement. However, I am saying that such a huge imbalance is the evidence that their rules in foreign trade are not our rules. We are playing different games and if we expect them to change their game to fit our rules then we are dreaming. This imbalance is as big problem for China as it is for us but they don’t know what else to do and our leaders don’t know what else to do either and so they all continue on with policies that engendered this imbalance in the first place.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin -
if the state acts to erase the possible existence of records that would otherwise be available to enable me to exculpate myself, then that creates a presumptive burden upon my ability to practically apply my 6th Amendment right to use the factual truth in my own defense.

Conceded: any time the police act to destroy (or to plant or otherwise tamper with) evidence, they've violated 6th Amendment rights of the accused.

However, the "right to record the police" is a positive act of creating evidence. Witnesses to police misconduct could always be called by the accused, but could never 'interject themselves' into the process, because they have no 'right' to interfere until called upon by either the police or the accused.

Unless one actually has that "right" - restricting the action of recording the police will not be "destruction of evidence" but merely "police procedure." Any law that says, "Obey the police" will mean that if a police officer tells you "Stop filming!" you must do so - unless there's a right that overrides the 'obey' law. So where could that right come from?

The 1st? It's problematic, because "video recording" may or may not be a form of protected speech
The 2nd? It's problematic, because (a) are cameras a form of 'arms'? and (b) do we accept the Scalia interpretation of the amendment as creating an absolute right for all citizens?
The 4th? It's problematic, because it permits 'reasonable' searches and seizures - it would be hard to prove that a specific police command to "Stop filming!" was unreasonable
The 5th? Problematic, because "self-incrimination" doesn't connect clearly with video records of a 3rd party's conduct
The 6th? Problematic, because it only relates to criminal proceedings
The 9th? Problematic, because it doesn't actually state other rights, but merely accepts that they exist
The 14th? Problematic, because 'due process' rights restrict government conduct, they do not give positive rights to public citizens to act as a restraint themselves

Given all those problems, and without reviewing the judge's actual ruling, I'm at a loss to see where the basis for this right might be, but can appreciate that even an honorable judge who deeply cares about civil liberties might have a difficult time finding the "right."

Alfred Differ said...

2) Bearing Recording Devices. A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear recording devices, shall not be infringed.

Heh. I suppose in those days it would have been a pen and paper the constables would have tried to take from us.

Berial said...

How can 'recording' NOT be a form of protected speech? Is WRITING not protected? Is it only protected once a letter or book is DONE? Is an actual SPEECH not protected until its given? Is the painting of a portrait not protected but the finished portrait is?

How can the images captured be first amendment material but the MAKING of it NOT?

Duncan Cairncross said...

If you want union protection, I won’t get in your way if in return you don’t impose union protection on me when I don’t want it. There is a negative externality wrt closed union shops to which I have been subjected personally, so this isn’t an exercise in liberal theory for me.

Alfred
That may be a problem - but it's like air bags or seat belts, there is a minor inconvenience involved but making it "optional" would result in no seat-belts and a huge increase in the costs that we all pay (emergency departments)

The correct thing to do is NOT to throw the baby out with the bath water but to fix the problems

You don't throw your car away when it needs new brake pads -

The "Big Lie" has convinced too many people that "it's safer to be thrown clear in a crash" so that seat belts are not being fitted as standard and for those of us who are not taken in "seat belts" are almost unobtainable because "there is no demand"

What was the problem with a closed shop?
You had to join to work there?
But you got the benefits - so why should you be able to work there and NOT be a member?
Is that not the same as having to have insurance to drive on the roads?
Or was it because you had some "objection" to joining that "society"?
What was the "objection"???
Why was that more important than the benefits? - and who decided that it was more important?
The existing members had obviously decided the other way - do they not have some rights as well??

Alfred Differ said...

But other than price advantages, the losses to the broader community are
(1) tax revenue
(2) income base and job safety
(3) missed opportunity costs (e.g., all the small businesses that used to support my laptop get driven out of business, replaced by a 'disposable commodity' industry)


Not convinced. The tax on the $1000 you don’t spend will be made up when you spend it on something else. The income tax loss on jobs that leave the country is made up when the impacted people find other work and get taxed again. The tax loss on the company’s profit gets made up when the economy here grows and people get taxed. I don’t see it as a tax revenue loss. To me it looks like a partial shift.

Job Safety? Overseas? We are often talking about people who volunteer to take these jobs suggesting their lives sucked worse without the opportunity. How are we to measure the possible improvement in their safety if we only look at looser safety rules overseas relative to our own rules which were never applied over there? On average, I suspect people who earn a better living are in a better position to demand better safety rules. We did that here. It’s been done in many other places.

Opportunity costs are tricky things to quantify. Sure they exist, but they might be balanced or done better by another change in the market that was prevented by stasis. Arguing that some businesses vanish to be replaced by disposable commodity businesses doesn’t convince me because what happens out there is FAR more complex in ways we probably can’t imagine. Opportunity cost models are often simplistic approximations in a multi-million dimensional reality.

The value of those losses to the broader community doesn't disappear - this is NOT a zero sum game. But that value will be captured. By someone in a position to capture it. Who will be in the elite.

Why an elite? I don’t buy it. I can imagine them capturing it sometimes, but they aren’t omniscient. Sometimes they screw up small ways and sometimes in big ways. Sometimes they get stepped on by a black swan.

donzelion said...

Deuxglass - I guess I'd have to say that when assessing the treaty, one has to first determine,
(1) What is wrong with the status quo, if anything? (2) Can the status quo be changed, without causing worse harms? (3) Will this treaty actually do something useful at all?

If one wants to be a stickler,
(4) Is there an even better way of doing all these things? (5) Can that be attained?

If we start with "in utopia, free trade would look like X" - we'll never get there until we all move to utopia (good luck finding it on your GPS) ;)

I assume that once signed, there will be a cost for breaching the terms of the TPP, and that cost will slightly shift the balance a little bit in some decisions made at some times. I assume all trade works by slight shifts in the costs and benefits. I assume that these slight shifts can have a cumulative, incremental effect resulting in massive differentials over time. I assume that we cannot possibly guess what all those changes will be, and that future adjustments will become necessary.

And I assume the status quo sucks - it's unfair, and it's getting more unfair.

I like to follow the money trail. China has accumulated US$ 3.23 trillion in reserves and Japan around $1254...such a huge imbalance is the evidence that their rules in foreign trade are not our rules.

Agreed. And this is why we need the TPP (even though China is not participating). When trade follows rules, instead of mere power and interest, both parties have a better chance of improving their position as a result of trade. When trade does not follow rules, only those with power can control the benefits of trade (the Oligarchs). So it has always been.

Now China is a WTO member, and let's remember what the WTO is supposed to achieve: reduced tariff barriers. Why? Under Keynsian logic, tariff barriers empowered colonial regimes to set up terms of trade for their own benefit - leading to World War I - or to lock out foreign competitors and engage in vast political distortions of their economies - leading to World War II. To Keynes, the best way to stop the great powers from entering into wars with one another was to reduce tariff barriers. So far, it's worked (mostly).

BUT the facts that Keynes wanted to change - two world wars - are not the only relevant facts. Tariff barriers are one (dramatic) expression of state power to choose "friends and enemies." But non-tariff barriers are far broader and more important, and a government can skillfully use them to block competition so that certain of its own 'people' (those closest to the government) will benefit.

So, what should we do? The three proposals come straight back again - (1) Isolate (the WWI & WWII era tactic - a catastrophic failure, but still the preferred course for some labor unions, alas) - (2) Maintain Status Quo (the opponents of the TPP) - or (3) change the rules (the supporters of the TPP).

Don't get me wrong, I'm still critical of the TPP, just as I'm critical of the U.S. Constitution. But the enterprise is a worthy one, not a plot to steal or redistribute wealth.

Deuxglass said...

I have no problem with recording devices as long as they are applied equally to the police and the participants. A defendant should be able to record the police and the police should be able to have access, with a judge's consent, to the participants' recording whether they are the defendant's or the onlookers'. It has to go both ways for it to be fair and just. It is evidence for or against and it should be up to the courts to decide if it would admissible or not.

Deuxglass said...

donzelion,

I don't think of it as a plot. It is just the unintended consequences that happen to some policies as time goes by. I would like to elaborate further but it is 12:30 in the morning here and I am dying to sleep. Let's discuss this later. Thanks for the stimulating conversation to all of you.

donzelion said...

@Alfred -
The tax on the $1000 you don’t spend will be made up when you spend it on something else.
Sales tax, yes; income tax, no. Much (all?) of that income tax now goes to a cluster of Chinese companies (some of which might be owned by an American company, but...).

Opportunity costs are tricky things to quantify.
Indeed. One way to try a rough approximation is to look at who participated directly from trade in a given period of time and compare balance sheets with those who did not participate directly in that trade. 99% of the direct participants are elites, for obvious reasons - and how did those corporations/billionaires do? What's the total asset value typically held by the 300 million Americans who were not direct participants? After that comparison, we can try to rule out alternative explanations, and what you get left with is a rough approximation of "who benefits."

Another way to do this follows -

Why an elite?
Because it costs a significant initial investment to be in "two places at the same time." An elite is best positioned to set up a legal person to act as its/his proxy in China and in America, and to hire managers in both places to extract the benefits of arbitrage.

100 years ago, such manipulations and arbitrage were common in currency markets. Using "dual presence," a big player could arbitrage changes in the Dollar v. Franc v. Mark v. Pound. A well-informed player who knew of a new tariff about to be adopted in the U.S. could take positions against that change and pocket the difference. Nowadays, there's just too many players who are too big to so easily manipulate the structure, with trillions of dollars in value changing hands in nanoseconds paired with very broad market knowledge driving those trillions of dollars about (but even then, some elites will try to exploit their position - as with the LIBOR manipulation case a few years back).

Elites do the same in smaller, predictable markets, when they obtain very precise forms of marketable knowledge. It's very hard to condense how this arbitrage works into a simple comment here, but it goes something like this:
(A) the U.S. bans Product X unless transported with Protocol 1 which costs $100,000 per shipment
(B) Vietnam requires Protocol 2 which costs $10,000 per shipment, and shipping from Vietnam to the US after Product X is converted to Product Y will cost $50,000 - meaning net cost reduction of $40k
(C) Vietnam is considering adopting Protocol 1, because it's safer than Protocol 2.

An elite can speak with government officials on both sides, and see what their stance will be. A regular person could not. As a result, the elite is able to better judge the value of a factory in Vietnam v. a factory in the U.S. for the same product. They are still gambling, but with much stronger control over the risks than a non-elite exercises.

Over time, the slight advantages they wield result in massive differentials in outcome.

they aren’t omniscient.
They don't have to be. Merely in a better position relative to other participants in the market (or in this case, in two different positions, the effect of which is to create a better position).

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: I’ve seen that argument before. The anti-vaccine people use it to justify their objections. Considering the fact that I’m currently immune suppressed, you can imagine my level of disagreement with them. 8)

I’ll grant that there are problems with throwing out the baby with the bathwater, but if you’ll allow me to extend the metaphor a bit, there are also problems with drowning the baby in the bathwater. The anti-vaccine people try to make this extension without good evidence, so I’m sensitive to making the same error. In my case, though, I think I have ample support to justify my non-participation that goes beyond the silly belief some have that a flu shot gives them the flu.

I’ve been locked out of hiring opportunities by closed shop college campuses. The union supported by teachers to protect themselves from administration screwed me by colluding WITH management to fix prices (wages) according to the degree earned by an applicant. The day I got my PhD, I should have kept my mouth shut and committed fraud in order to keep my job. I didn’t and wound up pricing myself out of work. The administrators were legally bound NOT to negotiate.

On a less personal level, I view a picket line as a form of terrorism if workers who choose to cross it face physical repercussions from those on the line or any repercussion from union management. Coercion is a dirty thing no matter who does it.

Unions have their place, so I’ll defend them if the baby is in a safe bathtub and challenge them or management otherwise.

locumranch said...



Although I agree that a new 'Right to (Video) Sousveillance' may help to stabilise & slow our cultural decline, I also find it "problematic" how the Western 'we' chooses to manufacture brand new 'rights' while simultaneously undermining the old & established ones, as evidenced by the simultaneous PC reaffirmation of the First Amendment along with a ban on 'Hate Speech' or by the active infringement of "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" through the placement of additional emphasis on a dependent clause that refers to ""A well regulated Militia".

Very quickly, new 'rights' like the 'Right to Record Authority Figures' become counter-productive, leading to the infringement of other established rights like those against Self-Incrimination, which any 'Innocent until Proven Guilty' law enforcement agent should be free to invoke before either (1) Agreeing to be Video'd or (2) Allowing any of his personal information stored on a recording device, phone or body camera to be used against him in a court proceeding.

Similarly, how can we (as 'Innocent until Proven Guilty' individuals) allow any autonomous agency to collect potentially damning video evidence against us BEFORE we either (1) Commit a Crime or (2) Stand Accused of Crime, especially when our judicial system tends to confuse video evidence with 'bearing witness'?

Even worse: If we assume that Video Sousveillance may be utilised as a 'Defensive Weapon' (in accord with our Second Amendment rights), then are we to be COMPELLED to (1) Bear Witness Against Ourselves and (2) Self-Harm by virtue of the very video that we compiled solely for Self-Defence?

This way lies madness & slavery.


Best

donzelion said...

@Alfred/Duncan - "Unions have their place, so I’ll defend them if the baby is in a safe bathtub and challenge them or management otherwise."

That sounds like CITOKATE to me. ;) In the hands of a cynic, criticism is a trick to attack and dismantle, but in the hands of one arguing in good faith, it's just criticism, which can be constructive. And I've seen (and been part of) a couple labor unions (including one for adjunct faculty)...constructive criticism is seldom well received (at least, not until you've earned your right by investing time).

@Deuxglass - then let's continue the debate. All in good fun, and meant in good faith. For my part, my purpose is to practice this form of debate. Still need to find ways to condense to bite-size terms, which means I haven't mastered it yet.



donzelion said...

@Locum - sheesh...
(1) Efforts to "ban hate speech" are not conducted legislatively, and when they are, they're overturned. The closest anyone ever came to adding "hate" to a legal code was a "hate crime" aggravator in criminal sentencing terms - that is, if Mr. X murders Mr. Y, and says he did it because Mr. Y is a member of Group Z, then Mr. X gets the full murder sentence + an additional couple of years. About 44 states have already added special sentencing provisions (as of 2009, according to Heritage, which finds this perfectly legit).

(2) Rather, "banning hate speech" is typically undertaken by the free market forces, either by various public forums (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) - which have a right to refuse to distribute anything they want - or by other bodies refusing to endorse certain speakers they dislike (and why should they be compelled to do so)?

(3) See above for the problem with the "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms" - and the rest of the wording in the amendment. I try to assume that the words in the Constitution mean what they appear to mean in the context where they appear. I don't like reading clauses drafted as a single sentence as though they were disconnected. But that's just me; a majority of the Supreme Court saw it differently, so that's the law. For now.

(4) "the 'Right to Record Authority Figures' become counter-productive - it's possible this might happen, and if it does, we'll need to work out some way to balance the rights. Law enforcement is NOT "innocent until proven guilty" - not unless they're charged with a crime, at which point, they become just another defendant, operating under the same rules as any other. When they're not charged with a crime, they're performing a sacred, public duty - and it is perfectly appropriate to monitor the performance of that duty, and require them to prove they acted properly in each case. Nobody likes being subjected to public judgment, but that's part of the job description.

(5) how can we ...allow any autonomous agency to collect potentially damning video evidence against us BEFORE we either (1) Commit a Crime or (2) Stand Accused of Crime Well, if we're really offended by the practice, we can tell the agency to stop it, as have many cities that were annoyed by traffic cameras. Or we can decide not to finance it (though many of those camera systems were 'self-financing').

(6) ...are we to be COMPELLED to (1) Bear Witness Against Ourselves
No. We're not compelled.

(7) ...are we to be COMPELLED to (2) Self-Harm by virtue of the very video that we compiled solely for Self-Defence?
No. We're not compelled to do that either. ;) However, the risk that this might inadvertently happen is another reason why the courts during the Miranda era focused on extending and broadening counsel rights - rather than trying to restrict police rights or powers (and even that effort was deemed "ridiculous liberal justices acting silly to let evildoers loose!").

Duncan Cairncross said...

I’ve been locked out of hiring opportunities by closed shop college campuses. The union supported by teachers to protect themselves from administration screwed me by colluding WITH management to fix prices (wages) according to the degree earned by an applicant. The day I got my PhD, I should have kept my mouth shut and committed fraud in order to keep my job. I didn’t and wound up pricing myself out of work. The administrators were legally bound NOT to negotiate.

What in hell has that got to do with a closed shop??
You are talking about a MANAGEMENT decision to fix wages - so you wanted to try and undercut the existing people by working for less money??

To me that is typical nonsense blaming the union for something it did not do,
Just like the murderer saying "he made me do it"


On a less personal level, I view a picket line as a form of terrorism if workers who choose to cross it face physical repercussions from those on the line or any repercussion from union management. Coercion is a dirty thing no matter who does it.

Two parts
Physical repercussion - now illegal - back in the old days it went both ways with management killing strike leaders - so the odd kneecapping was just the way it was

Repercussion from union management
If you cross a picket line you should be thrown out of the union - in a lot of places you will find that people don't want to work with scabs - I wouldn't want to work with one
It is entirely reasonable that somebody working against the union would suffer some repercussions
If fact if I was a member of that union and people who crossed the picket line did NOT suffer at least some repercussions then I would be voting to change my union rep

David Brin said...

donzelion you shrug off the 6th too blithely. In a world wherein citizens have an expectation to be able to record their world, it will be normal to access such records to use in one’s own defense in the event that unexpected troubles occur. In that case, police restrictions on a bystander’s ability to fair witness (and record) a troublesome event is denying the person at the focus of that event (an accused) an opportunity to demand exculpation by witnesses.

You claim that the prevention of the creation of records is inherently different than the later destruction of those records or denying the accused access to those records. I say you are splitting hairs much too generously to authority, against the spirit of the 6th. And all it will take is a good court ruling to establish this. And basing it thereafter on the 6th will thenceforth be much stronger than any other basis.

locum… cogently expressed! Utterly wrongheaded, but cogent. e.g. “hate speech” is only repressed in limited ways. You cannot be stopped from personally expressing an assertion that “Type X is inferior…” however entities like universities that owe a fiduciary and legal obligation to their funders - often the state - may be more judgemental.

Hey I am not comfortable with all forms of PC. Some extrema are tyrannical… though to compare their temporary irksomeness to the return of feudalism is simply loony.

If we all see and witness more than we used to, that will have many effects. It will reduce crime and allow us to REDUCE the number and reach of police. And it will empower us to eliminate bad apples from the police. If we fail to do those two things, when crime’s danger recedes, then shame on us.

Might it ALSO lead to a judgmental bullying by the majority? Yes, that form of Big Brother would be as bad as the Orwellian kind. But dig it, folks HATE that prospect! PC has a good side and that good side is more long lasting and says :learn to chill and stop judging each other harshly over symbolic crap, like someone’s nude pix when they were 17.”

If THAT trend continues, and the only shames that stick to you for decades are harms deliberately done to others, then sousveillance will bring mostly good.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

LarryHart you do know that I deem Frank Miller to be pretty darn evil. He preaches against even the possibility of a citizen-based civilization, with the relentlessness of a shrike.


Yes, I know, and I agree with your assessment...now.

9/11 changed Frank Miller similarly to how it changed Dennis Miller.

The Frank Miller comics I enjoyed were written prior to that event.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

So how does the Republican Hate Machine cope with this? How can they, in just a few months, get as much hatred for Sanders with his views lower-class Republican voters agree with, as they have for Hillary?


"Socialist!"

i wish that weren't enough, but I'm afraid it is.

Still, Bernie is surprising us, and if he does manage to get the nomination, I'll be his biggest fan.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - I'm not being blithe about the 6th, just cautious about expanding it. You know that's not because I have great deference to authority (otherwise, I wouldn't bother dickering with you on your own forum!). Aside from normal judicial restraint canons, here are some reasons why expanding the 6th may not be the best choice:

(1) With the 1st (or the 2nd, on Locum's adaptation), the "right to record" - once established, extends to all government actors everywhere in every context. With the 6th, the "right to record" extends only to police officers during criminal proceedings. A rule intended to expand transparency ought to embrace all the different sorts of opacity that governments may try to utilize.

(2) The 6th already bars police from destroying, tampering with, or planting incriminatory or exculpatory evidence. Police are required to adopt comprehensive procedures with any evidence - bag it, tag it, inventory it, store it, control it, ensure it is available to defense, etc. - and then hand it back after trial if there are no appeals. If the 6th extends to onlookers and any video records they produce, their own phones must be treated as possible evidence as well - who knows which of them snapped a photo or video of a crime? Anyone near the scene of arrest would expect their phones to be confiscated and locked in a bag until law enforcement reviewed the contents to make sure there wasn't useful evidence relating to the crime in question...would that encourage or discourage people from recording criminal events if that became a rule?

We could adopt different procedures for "evidence in police custody" and "evidence not in police custody but potentially relevant to trial that is still subject to the 6th but not all of the 6th the way normal evidence is treated" - but that would grow cumbersome (imagine the lawyers bickering - "Mr. X had a video record that showed something different!" "Oh yeah, where is it?" "It's on his phone - but we kept a copy!" "Yeah, but the copy you kept is modified from the original! Show me the original!" "We can't because we didn't impound his phone!" "Aha! You're denying me access to the evidence to prejudice the trial and cooking up video to hide the truth!")

(3) The prejudicial effects of video records held in the 'wild' cannot be discounted, and if they are safeguarded under all circumstances, there will be a rash of problems. Many of the folks with these video records would be looking to sell them - I could see entire websites offering to sell a sort of "police porn" (sort of like the ones that let you check mug shots to see if any of them look like your neighbors/coworkers). "Did you see that your employee just got arrested the other day?" "No, what for?" "I don't know, but here's what it looked like when they put the cuffs on him." "Wow, and I was thinking of giving him a raise too! Seemed like such a nice guy!" (Same applies if all police records become publicly available - there are many other reasons we might want to prevent these from falling into public hands and being used against people outside of a trial - by bosses, angry neighbors, aggrieved family members, rival gangs...)

(4) The other side of commercial realities is ugly: if onlookers have a constitutional right to record the police, why not do a "Nighstalker" (Jake Gyllenhaal version) - and go trail the police to record everything they do, particularly when it's 'juicy'. That makes law enforcement far more onerous (the press can be both friend and foe to the police, and is always important, but is also a headache). One doesn't have to be deferential to authority to recognize that making their lives harder isn't always desirable.

Duncan Cairncross said...

if onlookers have a constitutional right to record the police, why not do a "Nighstalker" (Jake Gyllenhaal version) - and go trail the police to record everything they do

I don't understand
Surely that is simply what the bodycam is intended to do?
Record everything so that you have a good solid record?
I know the current ones don't have enough operational life to do that but is that not the aim
Go on duty - switch on the camera

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
donzelion said...

@Duncan - re "Nightstalker scenarios" - the big issue isn't that the camera crews make life obnoxious for police by filming them, it's that they make life difficult to obtain/secure the evidence. "Filming" it can preserve one type of evidence, but if you watch CSI, you know there's a lot more to it than that...(they also make life difficult by sensationalizing any claim, which makes it much harder to bring a fair trial, but lawyers worry about that - and at the end of the day, police do sort of like the fact that the public perception of widespread violence results in larger budget allotments...).

re bodycams - right now, they are supposed to monitor the police officer during a shift, acting as a "mechanical witness" to corroborate (or contradict) officer testimony. A second police officer could also do that, but y'know, costs...besides, a second police officer has an incentive to protect his partner.

There's a lot of work to be done, some of it technical, most of it legal/procedural. At this stage in the game, police departments are very divided and cautious about it - but when the idea is sold to police officers as a tool to discipline and control their own police officers internally, the commanders are slightly more amenable (e.g., OK, Officer Smith, you have 5 complaints against you, and we noticed that in 4 of them, your bodycam was malfunctioning...we think there's a problem here and are pulling you off the streets to investigate) (of course, every officer screws up from time to time, and many rank'n'file officers hate the damn things - and sometimes, the commanders come up from the ranks...).

This is another reason for judicial restraint. Sitting back, waiting and seeing, letting the problems get worked out - before crystallizing the 'best' rule. When Miranda issued, it did require "Miranda warnings" at the time of arrest - which is no big deal, a lot of departments did something similar with their various arrest statements. The vast majority of police departments were professional institutions - they would have abhorred police officers beating suspects to extract confessions (but it did happen, or more often, letting the other inmates take their whacks to "soften up the suspect").

Robert said...

The term "socialist" has been so overused at this point that it has lost its meaning. So I don't see it working for riling up the base like Hillary has.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

I am known as a pragmatist who is willing to compromise and let our protector caste have supervised "tactical" secrecy to do their jobs. They merit leeway. Moreover I favor many other practical compromises.

But I am fiercely militant that the baseline-default must be the citizenry's right and power to supervise. A baseline that can be pragmatically limited only under generally effective burden of proof.

There are no other protections that will be worth a tinker's damn if we do not have sousveillance. And very few others will be needed, if we do.

Tony Fisk said...

You do realise that body cams could be used to celebrate an officer going about his civic duties with professional pride? (just sayin', this issue understandably concentrates on the bad apples. It probably doesn't hurt to recall there is a positive side)

locumranch said...



Hate Speech has been criminalised within the EU. It has not been criminalised as of yet within the US, yet that does not mean that offensive (hate) speech is 'protected' because it remains lawful & socially acceptable to punish, penalise & discriminate against those who speak hatefully, as anti-discrimination laws that make it criminal & illegal to discriminate by race, ethnicity, gender, orientation & disability still allow discrimination against those who speak objectionably.

Likewise, Miranda Rights do NOT apply in the case of Video Surveillance/Sousveillance as the surveilled subject does not have the option of 'remaining invisible', cannot prevent the visual recording that 'can and will be used against you' and has no 'right to an attorney', especially in the absence of either of a criminal charge or formal accusation.

In both circumstances, this lack of protection leads to the gradual erosion of common constitutional & civil rights, while bestowing special rights & privileges upon certain empowered, protected & monied classes, in a manner which may or may not penalise either law enforcement, the commoner or both.

Video & Speech are part of your permanent record because "What happens to you here is forever".


Best

David Smelser said...

I think one could argue that tampering with a witnesses video camera is tampering with a witnesses ability to recall what they have witnessed.

From http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2016/02/apple_and_the_fbi_think_iphones_are_safes_a_philosopher_explains_what_they.html

"Our electronic devices—or at least many of the processes that occur within them—are literally parts of our minds. And our consideration of Apple’s and the FBI’s arguments ought to flow from that fact.

This may sound ridiculous. But in an important co-authored essay and then in a book, the philosopher Andy Clark argued for something called the extended mind hypothesis. The basic idea was that we have no reason to treat the brain alone as the only place where mental processes can occur.

To take a simple example, imagine that you’re using your voice to help you count—you are saying, under your breath, “21, 22, 23,” and so on. You aren’t counting only by using neurological processes. You are also using the processes involved in saying those numbers under your breath. Now imagine that instead of whispering the numbers as you count, you are instead using a pad of paper to count. In this case, you are making marks on the pad for each item you count. The pad of paper is as much a part of the counting process as your vocalizations were. So the pad is part of the counting, too. Finally, imagine a case in which you are using both your brain-based knowledge of the city and Google Maps in order to navigate your way to a museum. The transitions to and from memory to Google Maps to decisions about where to walk are seamless.

In cases like these, Clark has argued, our mental processes extend beyond our neurological processes and into the parts of the world that we regularly use."



donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - I am fiercely militant that the baseline-default must be the citizenry's right and power to supervise.
A shared view. Do not mistake my dickering for criticism of the original premise, so much as the means of implementing it. As one of the champions of a premise that holds substantial merit, my purpose is to challenge with what you're either already encountering or will encounter as it gets grappled with by people who matter more than I. I hope I do not offend.

There are no other protections that will be worth a tinker's damn if we do not have sousveillance.
Concur.

And very few others will be needed, if we do.
Disagree. Sousveillance is one potent new medicine against corruption, but the hand that pays the officers has many other levers of power available, and will doubtless invent more. It's not a hopeless endeavor, just an enduring one, without final victory, but in which defeat may indeed prove final.

donzelion said...

@Tony - LOL - how often do you sit in heavy traffic and wonder, "How is it that all these cars are not crashing into each other in rage? I saw an accident back a bit ago, and instead of all the drivers getting out of their vehicles and pulling out guns, folks just shrugged, rolled their eyes, and drove on?"

I suspect that television shows will indeed celebrate officers going about their civic duty ("Neo-Cops" - is Cops still on anywhere?). Few of us welcome being judged, even when we're innocent of wrong, and when we do err, I also suspect more eyes fixate on such errors than anything else. Hence, I would anticipate strong hostility from those who are being monitored who are just trying their best to do their job, and who acknowledge their flaws - and I would fear that those who ENJOY being monitored may not always be the sort of police we'd want protecting us. But at least they won't be beating some of us up on camera without clearly visible justification.

donzelion said...

@Locum - "offensive (hate) speech is 'protected' because it remains lawful & socially acceptable to punish, penalise & discriminate against those who speak hatefully"

The right of the KKK to march through Jewish neighborhoods and hurl nasty, hateful rhetoric, is protected by the Constitution (often by Jewish advocates defending their free speech rights with zeal) (see Brandenburg v. Ohio). But the American way is to ensure that those who utter such speech pay a social (and often, economic) price, rather than a legal one, for their choice.

still allow discrimination against those who speak objectionably.
If they could assert anti-discrimination protections, then when they speak objectionably, they would do so without price or penalty. You would deny them the opportunity to become martyrs for their cause? Take away the 'privilege' of asserting their convictions to all who will listen, when they discover that nobody cares about the mad old homeless dude who hates X, Y, and Z races, or the crazy nut in the desert?

No, the proper course is to hold someone accountable for their actions. If they speak objectionably, some may choose to listen, and find their statements useful, and they may form a faction. Others will find their statements offensive, and shun the person advocating them. In time, those choices of "friend" and "foe" will dictate their destiny as much as anything else.

"Miranda Rights do NOT apply in the case of Video Surveillance/Sousveillance as the surveilled subject does not have the option of 'remaining invisible'"
Concur. I did not raise Miranda to offer a basis for deriving a right of sousveillance, but rather, to clarify how the limits of the 6th Amendment operate (and as a cautionary tale: complaints of 'liberal judges' and 'judicial activism' do the courts little good, and contributed to a backlash among folks who don't bother trying to understand the judgment, but rather, need to direct rage at a system that let a guilty man go free over a 'minor technicality').

Video & Speech are part of your permanent record because "What happens to you here is forever".
Indeed. The EU has been experimenting with the "right to be forgotten" - an intriguing concept (typically French). They've proposed several good ideas over the years ("separation of powers" - Montesquieu - among many others) - and even an earlier form of sousveillance and its risks (Foucault's Panopticon).

donzelion said...

@David - "I think one could argue that tampering with a witnesses video camera is tampering with a witnesses ability to recall what they have witnessed."
Concur. But again, I'm not certain it's all that different from tampering with our "notes and records" (which have also been likened to an extension of the mind) - and which brings us back to Jumper's point about the 4th Amendment (which is a good one, BUT subject to limitations - no "unreasonable" search and seizure is a pretty low bar, but still a bar).

But here's an interesting thought: are the extensions of our "mind" actually "ours" when we are dead? Does a dead person have a right to "freedom from self-incrimination" - particularly since, now being dead, no criminal charges are pending against them (or their mind)? If the iPhone in the Apple v. FBI case is an "extension of the mind" - but the person who's mind it extended is now gone - do we say the "mind" persists as a Ghost in the iPhone's shell?

Hmmm...whatever the philosophical context, my mind's been humming legal vibes all day, so I took at look at Apple's brief - prepared by a fine crop of imminent lawyers -

http://www.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/applefiling.pdf

It's a fascinating brief: the Constitutional arguments regarding the 1st and 5th Amendments make up the last 3 pages of the 35 page brief, and are truncated, "kitchen sink" style arguments. The 5th Amendment argument merits a single paragraph! As such, and reading the background, I see a legal brief that is 1 part "marketing ploy" (Apple wanting to look "tough" to reassure users of Apple products that they're not falling over to cooperate, and 1 part legal argument (with a pretty impressive argument, frankly - what law permits the government to "conscript" Apple to program a back door for the government's benefit? Wonder why they didn't also raise the "Takings Clause" - though that makes the argument about "compensation" rather than "compliance"...)

donzelion said...

And...one last thought, as I lay down to sleep. Perhaps an appropriate "foundation" for the right of sousveillance in America arises not from an amendment to the U.S. constitution, but from the legislative and/or executive powers themselves?

(1) From the legislative powers, the 'implied power' for the legislature to perform investigations carries with it obligations separate from any law enforcement power to provide the best available evidence to Congress. Similar purposes are served at the state and local level - and anyone who records video and proclaims, "This is material I'll be sending my Representative - they need to know how you treat us!" This "right" to inform the legislature would create a heavy burden on the police - "you can't inform them about this!" Um, why not? They pay your salary, and you're ultimately accountable to them - why not?

(2) From the executive powers, esp. Art 2, Sect. 3 (the "State of the Union" address) - public citizens recording police conduct not for their own defense, but for purposes of advising the Executive of "important matters happening in the country that merit legislative review." All that would be needed to safeguard this right would be a presidential instruction to federal officials, "The people may keep me informed of your activities. Don't interfere with them if they do so."

Neither of these "rights" is a natural reading of the Constitution - this is a relatively radical approach. But I think, given the confluence of the other amendments, and the importance of these duties, that these rights would be difficult for police to restrain without appearing quite tyrannical.

Jumper said...

Our U.S. law has evolved from English common law. That principle is itself recognized in law. Here we have penalties on "hate speech" but by other names. Much has been written legally about "fighting words." Also there's "disturbing the peace."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaplinsky_v._New_Hampshire
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breach_of_the_peace
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fighting_words

LarryHart said...

Robert:


The term "socialist" has been so overused at this point that it has lost its meaning. So I don't see it working for riling up the base like Hillary has.


For political junkies and fanatics, I suspect you're right. I'm talking about the effect on millions of voters who aren't paying that much attention until the run-up to the general election. I think you underestimate how much the word "socialist" still connotes "enemy of America" to the American ear.

Now, if we could make "fascist" stick to Donald Trump, it might be a brand new ballgame. "Vote for the Nazi or the Jew". Mind you, I'm not sure who would win that round, but it would be interesting to see it in the open.

We've had this same exchange many times. I expect we're both speaking for the benefit of listeners rather than to change each other's minds, which is cool with me.

Robert said...

No, I don't see it.

Because these days when you shout "Socialist!" people point at Norway, Sweden, and other Scandinavian states, who have not ever been our enemies, and say "like that?"

The anti-Socialists say "Socialism" and mean "State-owned everything" while socialism these days means "social safety nets and government regulation of privately-owned businesses" which is kind of what we have today in America. Except for the dismantling of social safety nets.

And given that even the older people who were so scared by the Soviet Union when growing up look forward to their Social Security - and when they worry about "socialism" people say "you mean like your Social Security and your Medicaid?" and those people poo poo that as socialism except they realize... it is socialism. But it's not bad socialism.

So if the Republicans have not been able to destroy Social Security, and end up jumping on the Medicare/Medicaid bandwagon under the Shrug, then I honestly think the Socialism Boogeyman has far less power to rile up the base.

-------

As a brief aside, I saw a rather... amusing but in my eyes incorrect claim in the science fiction webcomic Quantum Vibe: Venus 23 which claimed social safety nets are responsible for the decline in populations. Basically if there is no social safety net, you have as many kids as possible so that someone can care for you if things go plum-shaped.

Except if I recall, there are a number of third-world nations without social services but have declining birthrates... because the two significant factors behind a high birthrate are education and child mortality. Though Dr. Brin might correct me on that. I mean, the comic is fascinating and all that and takes an interesting poke at social engineering... but I think it ran into a small hiccup there.

Of course, in my eyes a higher birthrate is possible with extended longevity... after all, if you are able to live into your hundreds and still be fertile for a couple hundred years, and if resources and space are not a factor, then a woman could very well have a half dozen or more children, spread out over time.

Rob H., whose own storytelling bug has been starting to kindle again from long-idling embers

Berial said...

Robert said, "Because these days when you shout "Socialist!" people point at Norway, Sweden, and other Scandinavian states, who have not ever been our enemies, and say "like that?""

And this is the kind of thing I see. You have a VERY large portion of the population (Basically Republicans) that hear the word 'socialism' and they DO NOT think water/sewage, police, fire, 911, roads or a billion other things we do collectively through the government. No they've been trained to only hear 'tax' and 'taking MY money'. It's stupid I agree, but it's real.

You can say that this one image is just some asshole having fun, but it has been passed around all over the place now. It's VERY hard to have a serious discussion about government services when THIS is the level of discourse.

Robert said...

You mistake trolls for Republicans.

There is a long history of vandalizing, stealing, and otherwise eliminating the political signs of all politicians, be they Democrat, Republican, or even unaffiliated candidates. The vandal decided to be "cute" but it is no different than what happens to a multitude of candidates.

I'd be willing to bet there are even odds of the person who did that to the sign being a Hillary supporter or even some dick who isn't even going to vote as being a Republican.

For that matter, there's even the chance the person got the sign from the Sanders campaign and vandalized it himself (or herself) given the sign is evenly cut rather than at an angle like what would have happened if it were being cut while it was standing up.

Rob H.

Anonymous said...

The technocrats have a distinct whiff of their own—unicorn poop, du jour—of which they are adept to ignore as they blather on about disruptions most devious. How are housing prices? No eviction problems, skyrocketing rents, consequent favelas? Nope! Or the burn-out, the inverse relation between stock price and silly notions of work-life balance? Hmm! And how is the blowing of the Carbon wad? No waste from a live-in-city, banal stroad out to some hinterland concrete stile sort of thing? Of course not. Recall that Robert Moses channeled Adam Smith before cutting his stroads through once-viable neighborhoods. Or those lovely carcinogens from the Diesel backup generators so Englebart's cat photos can be served sans interruption? Or that rare earth mine in who knows where hey don't ask the tech is cheap, get thy nose to the credit trough. And the landfills and the sky screamers pooping out Carbon all the hours of the day? Mere beauty spots from the burning touch of Prometheus as he stumbles sans wisdom through the biosphere.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Because these days when you shout "Socialist!" people point at Norway, Sweden, and other Scandinavian states, who have not ever been our enemies, and say "like that?"


People already inclined to vote for Bernie, yes.

Those aren't the people whose vote I'm concerned about being swayed by months' worth of gray-toned, minor-key, menacing-voice commercials talking about Stalin and Castro and Vietnam, subliminal mushroom clout imagery, and then a deranged-looking, scratchy video of Bernie from 1977 saying "Yes, I'm a socialist!", with some God-awful tag line at the end.

The Republicans haven't attacked Bernie at all. Some say that's because he hasn't been relevant yet, and some say it's because they'll have a hard time attacking him. But I find it more plausible that they'd like him to be the nominee, and they're saving the big guns for later. I know Hillary has experience fighting against those big guns. I don't know the same about Bernie.

He did pleasantly surprise me in Michigan, and that's good. I may even vote for him next week in Illinois. I've said before that if I was just picking a president, I'd prefer Sanders. But I'm picking a candidate to beat Trump or Cruz or Romney or Ryan or Ted Nugent or whoever the Republicans draft at their brokered convention. I don't care as much about the differences between Bernie and Hillary as I do that a Democrat absolutely must win in December (when the Electoral College meets). "On this, all else depends." Because I don't think Canada will take me as a refugee.

I'm really not trying to change your mind personally, as I know you believe what you believe. I'm not interested in being right as much as I am in electing Democrats, or more accurately, in not electing Republicans. I'm merely trying to articulate the other side of the argument.

A.F. Rey said...

PunditFact found surveys that showed that "socialists" have less popularity than "atheists."

http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2016/jan/29/jennifer-granholm/jennifer-granholm-says-americans-would-rather-elec/

And how many "atheists" do you know who are running for a major public office? ;)

It would be an uphill battle for Bernie to convince these voters that his "socialism" is not the type they hate.

-----

donzelion, while you arguments about video recording the police are interesting, I keep wondering how some of them don't also apply to simply witnesses the police in action.

I mean, simply witnessing a police event is a "positive act of creating evidence." A witness also creates evidence with his memory that can only be called upon by the defendant. Witness can be tampered with after the event if they are not in police custody, too. And if making a video of an event is illegal because it produces physical evidence of the event, how about simply writing down what you saw? Wouldn't that also be illegal?

The only reason videos are special is because of the perceived reliability of the recording (which can be disputed by the lawyers during the trial). But otherwise it does not seem materially different to me than the memory of the person holding the recording device at the time.

raito said...

'What was the problem with a closed shop?;'

As has been said, the problem is not exclusively with the union. It is also with the company.

'You had to join to work there?'
'But you got the benefits - so why should you be able to work there and NOT be a member?'

The decision to give the benefits is not that of the union, it is the decision of the company. Most likely because they don't want to maintain individual contracts with each worker. The company doesn't HAVE to give the benefits to non-members.

Except that it's not that easy. There's no union that I'm aware of that doesn't want everyone working where they have a contract to pay dues. And by pay dues, I mean that they don't care at all whether the workers get the supposed 'benefits'.

And so the agreement is made to exclude workers from employment unless they pay their protection money.

'Is that not the same as having to have insurance to drive on the roads?'

Not even remotely.

'Or was it because you had some "objection" to joining that "society"?'
'What was the "objection"???'
'Why was that more important than the benefits? - and who decided that it was more important?'
'The existing members had obviously decided the other way - do they not have some rights as well??'

Yes they do. But they do not have the right to impose a contract on me without my consent.

As far as benefits go, is a contract is in place, it isn't even possible to know if the contract confers benefits as there's nothing to compare to.


In my particular clash with unions, I wasn't even a member. Just a guy with a student job. But a union member preferred to not work with me. She never did say why. She said explicitly that there was no problem with my work. So effectively, by dint of the union contract, this person who was not my superior could fire me (or cause me to be fired -- there is no difference) without any cause whatsoever. The eventual result was that my college career was stopped cold for lack of funds.

So while I believe that unions should be allowed to exist, and unquestionably have done some good, I also believe that the union system has some very basic flaws.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

You mistake trolls for Republicans.


must...not...swing...at...easy...ones...

but...so...hard...

David Brin said...

Actually, our anonymous "troll" a moment ago was - in fact - rather poetical and in some ways moving... if a bad speller. You'll not find the author of EARTH - a Sierra Club activist since 1968 - disagreeing with the culpa nostrum that humanity is foolishly fouling our only nest.

But we were doing is already. The feudal lordships were already spreading deserts. Even the brutally eco-conservative ones, like Tokugawa Japan and Tikopea, so beloved of Jared Diamond, were degrading themselves gradually. Industrial civilization dramatically accelerated the damage... as it accelerated the advancement of the knowledge we needed to SEE what we are doing... and accelerated the creating of world populations sufficiently sated to peer outward to farther horizons in time and space and empathy, who then began pushing for regulations to save the world from ourselves.

Yes, the world of Soylent Green awaits. There are two ways out. Reduce our impact by slashing the population murderously, or through the gradual but peacefully voluntary tapering we see in Japan and Europe and China. We can reduce our environmental impact by going back to fierce feudalistic repression of tech... or by advancing technologies of efficiency so far that today's Japanese and Dutch seem wastrels, by comparison.

We can cower by wood fires and degrade more slowly... or else move manufacturing to the asteroids and make Earth a park.

All middle ground between these two options will - I concur - be hell. As for the Rejectionist/renunciator prescription, all I can say is that It's Been Tried. 6000 years of brutal repression and foul ignorance, ruled by "lords" who were barely more sapient than monkeys.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin - "We can cower by wood fires and degrade more slowly... or else move manufacturing to the asteroids and make Earth a park. All middle ground between these two options will - I concur - be hell."

Well, hell with it - I dissent. There's a whole world (a whole planet even) in between those extremes (though I like the notion of Anonymous invoking Robert Moses - who built "parkways" (usually known as 'freeways' - but in NY, a 'park access road' created special legal advantages that let construction commence immediately and weakened legal tricks to impede its construction - as opposed to our friends in South Pasadena, who blocked the 710). We can build parks. We can build parkways. We can maintain a very powerful industrial capability on Earth. That's not namby pamby optimism - so much as respect for our capabilities to pursue incremental improvements, to make right what we do wrong, to win at least as often as we lose.

Is 'nuclear Armageddon' a risk? Sure. Is "global warming drought/waste lands" a risk? Sure... Is feudal collapse into micro-totalitarianism a risk? Sure. But none of these are destiny. We have our work cut out for us, but our work is not futile.

donzelion said...

@A.F. - "arguments about video recording the police are interesting, I keep wondering how some of them don't also apply to simply witnesses the police in action....And if making a video of an event is illegal because it produces physical evidence of the event, how about simply writing down what you saw? Wouldn't that also be illegal?"
First, I'm not arguing that recording the police is illegal. Please re-read where I'm coming from - the purpose is to find the basis for a "right" - and to apply all of our critical capabilities to the law to place such a right on the firmest footing that will do the least harm. I DO believe that this is a right that should be upheld, but I am unsure how to craft it.

That said -

Answer 1: "Simply" writing it down has never been illegal.
Answer 2: "Writing it down" isn't always so simple. If a witness went about interviewing the other witnesses and started his/her own investigation, it changes the facts on the ground and would interfere with the police. We can and do rein in the police. But bystanders with their own agenda, which often has nothing to do with simply performing law enforcement functions? Much harder. And video records of a crime scene? Sometimes, they'll protect defendants in certain types of actions, but often, they'll hurt defendants. Video, like any perception, is rooted in the limitations of the perceiver - creating the illusion of "being there" when in fact, one is only seeing from a limited vantage point, stripped of all the other context so critical to any participant.

donzelion said...

@Jumper - How'd "hate speech' even come up as a topic in this chain? LOL...well, ok - first, we have no "hate speech" exception to the "free speech" doctrines of the 1st Amendment.

"Fighting words" are not protected speech, because they're not regarded as "speech" at all - they're a "verbal action" - the equivalent of throwing a punch at someone. Pretty goofy notion, I know, but it comes from a John Wayne theory of manly conduct - "Them's fightin' words! Draw yer pistol!" - which the Court embraced in 1942, and has since limited without totally overruling. The only remnant of the doctrine is when someone says words to another person intending to start a fight - it's never the 'words' themselves that can be restricted (e.g., a rapper has a right to use the word "N--ger!" - but not to use it directly at another person trying to instigate a fight).

"Disturbing the peace" is even more nuanced. Used to be that a heckler could shout down a speaker, attack him, and the police would arrest the speaker for "disturbing the peace." These days, it's the hecklers who tend to get arrested (see the Irvine 11, or the recent KKK rally in Orange County). There are exceptions, but even then, the Courts are pretty restrictive on banning even the most hateful, un-PC speech (see this case - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2015/10/28/sixth-circuit-rejects-hecklers-veto-as-to-anti-islam-speech-by-bible-believers/

Neither is a basis for "hate speech" per se, though hateful speakers can occasionally invoke either doctrine to avoid criminal liability. Neither is relevant to "campus censorship of hate" - because campuses are not the "police" enforcing ordinary laws against their students - they're often a "limited public forum" or a "private forum." Neither is relevant to Twitter, Facebook, or any other "private forum" which restricts "free speech" - because speech was never "free" on their platforms anyway, but always, a 'privilege.'

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: My personal experience was during the recession in the early 90’s. The school where I was teaching as a part-timer was paying union dues out of my paycheck even though I had no real representation. There was a class to be taught and not enough budget for a full-timer and I was willing. I had done it for a few semesters already and had a relationship with management already. I had my MS and was working on finishing my PhD and knew the campus could afford me at the MS level. I had no issue with that. What I failed to understand is they were contractually bound to pay me at the PhD level once I completed it. Of course, they couldn’t because they didn’t have the cash during the recession.

A union contract with a binding clause that constraints what non-members can negotiate by constraining management negotiations is immoral. The savior has become the monster by closing the shop in the sense that all employees are union members and the colluding to fix prices on people who can’t do a damn thing about it.

As for picket lines, I get that kneecapping is a thing of the past in the US. What annoys me is when someone things they can limit my freedom to negotiate in the labor market. I have no interest in causing harm to people in the community, but if it is in my best interests to make or accept an offer involving ANY employer, you better be able to prove harm if you want to coerce me. Proving to be non-competitive in the face of my offer is NOT harm. If you don’t like my offer, make me another that doesn’t involve coercion and I’ll consider it.

No one likes to think they’ve become the monster.

donzelion said...

@Raito - "The decision to give the benefits is not that of the union, it is the decision of the company."

In a world where there are only two players - the employee and the employer - this is correct.
In a world where there are more than two players (including the union, but also other potential employees, and other potential employers, and an option for unemployment as well) - the decision is an outcome of a confluence of factors interacting: any benefits extended or received are not a purely 'voluntary' decision, but also a reflection of different participants trying their best to achieve their goals. Which means, it's not the decision of the company, and that the company does not decide in a vacuum.

Which "world" better reflects "the real world"?

"they do not have the right to impose a contract on me without my consent."
You never consented to the world being what it is - rife with different players who limit your options, preventing you from taking contracts you might want, creating alternate candidates and a whole panoply of other factors which come into consideration. But that doesn't mean all those other people are violating your rights.

When a union in a closed shop negotiates, it's tempting to invent a 'perfect world' where it's just you against the employer, negotiating as equals. Sadly, such a world never existed and will never exist. As a result, any player that plays by the rules is permitted to shift the terms of what is possible (not by beating up or intimidating you into participation, but by setting the terms that restrict it - even if you don't like it).

a union member preferred to not work with me. She never did say why...by dint of the union contract, this person who was not my superior could fire me (or cause me to be fired -- there is no difference) without any cause whatsoever.
Sucks sometimes. But this is not oppression by the union, so much as a reflection of a lot of players interacting. The union could "cause you to be fired" - and so could the company - and so could you - and so could a crazy 3rd party drunk driver who crashed his car into yours and prevent you from going to work. Any of them can "cause you to be fired." That does not mean you have a right to be free of such risks, only a duty to do your best.

unions should be allowed to exist, and unquestionably have done some good, I also believe that the union system has some very basic flaws.
They're human institutions - just another player competing in a complex world - and a player that at some times, will be on "your side" - and at other times against you. There's danger in assuming they're always our friends, but much greater danger in assuming they're always our enemies - and the latter comes about from disillusionment when someone had hoped for friendship, only to discover they're just human institutions like any other, and our positions relative to one another change.

donzelion said...

@Alfred - A union contract with a binding clause that constraints what non-members can negotiate by constraining management negotiations is immoral.

An interesting notion of morality. A contractarian theory of morality would typically hold that the contract itself is MORAL - one must honor one's promises - and that all morality flows from that basic premise. Now, most libertarians claim to be contractarian moralists of one sort or another (if not pure relativists - in which case, there is no 'immorality' at all, just self-interest), but if you're rejecting a contractarian theory of morality, what do you actually believe to constitute morality?

"The savior has become the monster by closing the shop in the sense that all employees are union members and the colluding to fix prices on people who can’t do a damn thing about it.
The savior was never a savior or a monster - just a faction. Sometimes your interests aligned, sometimes they did not. To me, "immorality" would be cheating or lying - you knew the terms available and the implications, and if one generally upholds a freedom of contract, one knows that sometimes, the terms aren't what one wants, and sometimes, one isn't invited to contract at all.

I'm beginning to think your anger at the union is misplaced. Confronted with an employer with limited resources, terms were negotiated for the benefit of the largest number of employees as possible - but that doesn't mean you benefited from those terms, nor does it mean that the party negotiating was "evil" - just not on your side in this case. Remove that party, and instead of negotiating for the "greatest good" (a more utilitarian theory, which is not contractarian and which Smith disliked) - the party with power negotiates for its own best interest.

Meaning: with the union, you got fired when you got your PhD. Without the union, you'd probably still have been fired when you got your PhD. It happens to many of us overcredentialed folks. But it doesn't mean the players doing it are evil.

David Brin said...

wow what elevated discussions!

But now on to economics.

onward

onward

Duncan Cairncross said...

As for picket lines, I get that kneecapping is a thing of the past in the US. What annoys me is when someone things they can limit my freedom to negotiate in the labor market. I have no interest in causing harm to people in the community, but if it is in my best interests to make or accept an offer involving ANY employer, you better be able to prove harm if you want to coerce me. Proving to be non-competitive in the face of my offer is NOT harm. If you don’t like my offer, make me another that doesn’t involve coercion and I’ll consider it.

By crossing a picket line you are trying to get "A free rider" advantage,
Humans did not go the way of the big muscled Alpha male - the way our cousins the apes did
We went for an equal society - maintained by lethal force used on anybody who tried to be the "leader" or who tried to ride free
That was human life for 200,000 years - we then had 4000 years of inequality but the basic human approach is to "coerce" anybody breaking the rules

As a human I would do the same - I would do anything in my power to remove a "scab" that was working with me.
So would a lot of other people
As a manager I would not employ a "scab" simply because I know that they would not fit into my team

The only way that a "scab" fits in is because the whole workforce has been broken down to a subhuman level of serfdom

David Brin said...

onward


onward