Thursday, May 05, 2016

Recent history and the next election

Okay, okay, let's catch our breath. (So says Brin as he flushes all his draft analyses of Ted Cruz! I'll email them to a parallel Scudder Universe.) 

First off, remember, there are always silver linings. For example, Donald Trump may fix our energy shortages! Take Arizona, which today draws 17.3% of its electrical power from coils placed around the spinning in Barry Goldwater's grave.

A smart Republican I know bemoaned "how did it come to this? Where is the real GOP?"  Quashing impatience, I had to reply:  The "real" GOP has been virtually extinct for a very long time. 


Back in Gingrich days, absurd culture war was occasionally punctuated by serious negotiation over bills to help America improve. For that crime of negotiation, Dennis Hastert (role-model for all boys), along with (later convicted felon) Tom DeLay, John Boehner, and Paul Ryan, led a coup against Newt, declaring the Hastert Rule to 'never ever negotiate!' Leading to the laziest, noisiest, most unproductive and most silly congresses in US history.

Then came neocons and the Cheney administration -- under which every metric of U.S. national health plummeted while "culture war" blossomed into a new phase of civil war. And now you are surprised that the Beck-Limbaugh-Fox hate festival has metastasized? Till a carnival barker was able to seize control?


Dig it. If the recent dominance of Trump and Cruz reveals one thing, it is that the War on Science (and against all other smartypants knowledge castes) has left today's GOP lobotomized... a mob easily hijacked by demagogues.

Do not blame Trump for this! The methods that he uses are not his own innovations. His polemical tricks were developed and refined in the Limbaugh-Beck-ClearChannel R&D department. They are brainchildren of Roger Ailes.

Want someone to blame? Look to the masters of Beck and Hannity. "Smart" Republican moguls like the Kochs, Murdoch, Adelson and the Saudi royals, who - like 1920s Junker lords in Germany - thought they could whip a frenzied mob and it would stay their willing beast... till someone charismatic leaped aboard and snatched the reins. They made this bed. 


You want a "real" conservatism? Your hope, like a phoenix bird, can only rise out of ashes.

== The 'Trump Error'? ==

As for the rest of you... I can’t believe all the hand-wringing among blue Americans. Sure Donald Trump is bringing things to a head… but it would have come anyway with the equally and pyrotechnically raving Ted Cruz. And little better with Bush-Cheney clan member John Kasich. To be clear, there was never, at any point during this GOP primary season, a candidate of the stature of Goldwater, or Eisenhower or even Reagan.


Asked one fellow I know:  “How do we avoid the Trump error?"

That's the wrong question, defensive and fretful. Instead ask: 
"How do we exploit the Trump error?" 

The Murdochians must be defeated in detail, down to Congress and local assembly races. Bernie Sanders should motivate his young crowd to go make those local races their own. And libertarian-minded Americans should recall that market enterprise is wrecked more by oligarchy than by civil servants.

Send Rupert Murdoch back to peddling papers from a box in Sydney. Do that a
nd U.S. conservatism will finally enter the long, hard re-evaluation it should have done 20 years ago, recalling that Barry Goldwater loved science. As did Newt Gingrich. As should any sane person who cares about his or her grandchildren.

Shame on all of you for quailing in hand-wringing fear! Reach out to sane-conservatives now, in their time of angst, and tell them that sane-conservatism will be welcome at the bargaining table. Offer friendship amid their stages of grief. Remind them that their first loyalty is to America and our shared Experiment, not Fox-induced rage. 


Music can help this transition. Julia Ward Howe is renowned as the poet who woke up one night in an inspired state to pen the lyrics of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," the song that would become the victorious psalm of the Civil War. Join this battle filled with joy. 


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94 comments:

SFcrowsnest said...

David, I wonder if you've read 'Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few by Robert B Reich'? Makes many of the same points as your drift, here.

Robert said...

The problem is that at one point, there WAS a liberal bias to the news media. When Fox News showed up, it was filling that void. The problem is that while it could have provided truly balanced news media, it chose to overcompensate and divide people.

Any true conservative news media that tries to compete will lose, because news is boring without bombasticism. That said, the future of news reporting will be a mixture of citizen news and nonprofit journalism. Newspapers need not make ever-increasing profits to satisfy their owners. They just need to break even. Perhaps have some of those profits put into a rainy day fund so that when profits don't break even, cuts need not be made.

The funny thing is, an honest conservative nonprofit news media organization would probably slowly build a following among liberals and moderates as well. Though when I say "conservative" I probably should expand on that - not "conservative politics" but "cautious" and "careful not to make false claims." Compared to today's news media? Yes, it is quite conservative.

Rob H.

Jumper said...

So which cabal slipped us the devious and fundamentally inane insistence on terming everything "conservative" and "liberal" even when the meanings have become meaningless?
The opposite of "conservative" is "radical," the opposite of "liberal" is "authoritarian," the opposite of "democratic" is "elitist." None of which are epithets in their proper time and place.

Unknown said...

Wait, wasn't it Newt Gingrich that shut down the Office of Technological Assessment? Strange way to show your love of science.

David Brin said...

Unknown, you are right, of course. I make excuses for Newt because he's only say 50% stark jibbering crazy.

Anonymous said...

"Liberal" used to be an epithet, now it is the label progressives give to moderates in the DNC. Conservatism has (finally!) jumped it's shark and I do not think I know any "sane" conservatives because the only people I know who willingly take on that mantle are either closet racists (I have one of "those" uncles) or Ayn Rand acolytes who are as confused with labels as they are with judging quality literature. Trump will (hopefully) finish the job Junior Bush did and relegate the Grande Odle Confederate Party to whatever graveyard the Whigs and the Bull-Moose Party are interred.
Next step; statehood for DC and Puerto Rico, Constitutional Amendment guaranteeing the right to vote for all citizens, repeal of Citizens United, 2 Trillion in infrastructure spending, and a complete surrender of the Drug War.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Laurent Weppe said...

From the previous comment section (2/3)

* "How in your opinion do your observations of racism towards successful immigrants in France apply to people of East Asian descent?"

It's a bit particular: on one hand, you don't have politicians or pundits using anti-Asian bigotry to court voters or peddle their books like they do with Arabs, Africans and Muslims nowadays. But on the other hand, anti-Asian racism is a lot more socially acceptable, precisely because when an asshole spews some bullshit about "the Chinese" people don't immediately make the "This guy would love going back to the Good Old Days when white dudes like him could rape their dark-skinned maid with impunity" connection that comes easily when dealing with anti-maghrebi racists for instance, and on top of that racist violences against Asian French are on the rise.

***

* "Mistaking the elite at the top of a hierarchy for feudal lords who historically aspire to idleness (the gentleman does not soil his hands or trade for a living) is a typically US error"

It is neither specifically american nor an error. Nowadays, idle aristocrats hide their idleness by fetichizing "leadership": a modern aristocrat "leads" either a private company as a CEO or board member, or a public administration as an elected official or director of some kind, or act as a powerbroker through some lobby firm, and will demand remunerations which can reach ridiculously high amounts for essentially giving orders to smarter people beneath him in the hierarchy and/or socializing with other orders-givers. Like the gentleman of old, he neither soils his hands nor trade: at most he orders around the actual traders.

***

* "Was the treatment of black people in the first 20 years after the Civil War ended and slavery came to an end a good thing then?"

The problem with incrementalism, as evidenced by both the American Civil War and Jim Crow, is that for the beneficiaries of the status quo slow, incremental change is as much a threat than brutal upheaval: slave owners had grown used to the material comforts that the slave system brought them, didn't know how to live otherwise, and were incapable to chose by themselves to learn how to live otherwise: therefore it didn't matter how fast change came: for them, change meant death, or at least debasement into abject poverty. Which means that they tried to fight it with abuses of the federal state's powers while they controlled it, then with open warfare against it when they lost in the ballot box, then with terrorism and methods worthy of the mobs when they got beaten on the battlefield.

It was foolish, of course: had the slave system continued unabated, the 300.000 planters would have eventually been exterminated in a haitian-like uprising like their 30.000 Dominicans peers, but aristocrats suck at seeing their own downfall coming.

Thus, the problem with incrementalism is not incrementalism itself, but the fact that quite often, the beneficiaries of the status quo will treat even the smallest of reforms as another step on the green mile and will fight these as ferociously and viciously as they can.

Laurent Weppe said...

Et putain de blog de merde! Je poste un texte, et BIEN SÛR, le temps que je poste la deuxième partie, la machine a déjà jarté la première!

Ahem...

Pardon my french.

Ok, once more for the road:

(1/3)

* "From my UK experience the racial targets change,
In England it went;
The Welsh, The Irish, Blacks (west indies), Pakistanis, and now it's Poles and Arabs

How did that change in France??
"


The same thing pretty much happened: first the main targets of bigotry where the migrants from the distant provinces arriving in the big cities (Britons, Gascons, Auvergnates, etc...), then it became the migrants from other poorer european countries (Italians, Spaniards, Portuguese, Poles...), then those who arrived from the former french colonies.

***

* "Feudalism is dead. The gun killed it. And if it tries to rise from the grave and take over once more... guns will be used against it time and time again."

Which is why in Syria chlorine and high grade explosives were used by the local satrap: the parasites know that guns will be used against them, but if you pardon the pun, guns can be outgunned.

***

* "I just recently read a historical novel by Robert Harris (blanking on the title) which strongly suggested that what you describe was the impetus behind the Alfred Dreyfus affair."

Of course it was! Well, it was one of the impetus: the others was that even without his judaism, Dreyfus made a perfect scapegoat has he hailed from Alsace and Alsacians were regarded with suspicion at the time (Alsace had been conquered by Prussia after the war of 1870) and the fact that Walsin Esterhazy, the actual culprits, was such a caricature of a screwup and an impostor (got his officer rank fraudulently, inserted false citations for gallantry in his military record, spent years without even showing once to work in his regiment, wasted his inheritance and his wife's dowry funding his sybaritic lifestyle, built colossal debts trying to regain his lost wealth by speculating in the stock market which he treated like the gambling dens where he had wasted the aforementioned inheritance and dowry, sold military secrets for cheap to get his creditors off his back...) that no only acknowledging Dreyfus' innocence would have been confessing a miscarriage of justice, but also the admission that they had allowed an inept & lazy wanker with a to rise through the ranks more or less on virtue of his prestigious name.

***

* "You mentioned Schumpeter and the British Empire. Was such an attitude present in the French Empire?"

Yes it was, and I'd say that the efforts by the Powers that Be to instill such sentiment were even more blatant than in Britain:
I've read french school books from the imperial era: these were clownish in their attempt to instill loyalty to french school kids: France was the Besterest Country Evar, a shining light upon the world and young Frenchmen were according to these books supposed to love the Motherland more than their own wives (so what are we supposed to do? roll naked on the ground and fuck the hallowed soil?) and of course nothing showed patriotism more than dying on the battlefield for the Glory of the Nation.

And then there's the justification of colonialism through "photographic evidence": put a grown-ass six feet six soldier next to a thirteen years old clearly underfed african girl: the difference in size is supposed to "demonstrate" the so-called inherent superiority of the White man.

All this was supposed to make the french working and middle-class feel proud, to make them believe that they belonged to an elite group: So we had the french ruling class, peddling to its subjects the dream of the intrinsically superior to all others french civilization, which of course englobed all Frenchmen, including those who didn't access the bountiful spoils of the oh so great empire.

Laurent Weppe said...

Okay, there's definitely something fucking wrong with the way to blog automatically erase posts seconds after they've been posted: I think I'll start putting links to screenshots on imgur...

From the previous comments (3/3)

* "Sanders looks to have less than most politicians and his political opponents apparently have not been able to use his “dirt” against him"

Then they'll make some up.
Obama didn't have enough pre-White House dirt? Let's pretend that he's a Kenyan closeted Muslim radical nobody will believe that bullshit, but enough will repeat the lie by tribalistic partisanship to allow the first guy to peddle it to become the opposition's standard bearer.

Kerry had a much better military record than Bush? Let's pretend that's not true: enough people will swiftboat for the team.

There's not enough dirt on Sanders? They'll pretend he burned kittens and rapped puppies, and a lot of Republican voters who last year swore they found Trump more disgusting than any prominent democrat will dutifully hail him as the Heroic Herald of the new Anti-Kitten-Burning Crusade.

***

* "That is an extraordinary statement to make considering they turned out in mass to vote in the primary and to attend his rallies"

So far, Clinton got 12,5 million votes against Sanders' 9,5 million.
So yes, Clinton does better among people who actually bother to register and to show up to vote.

Robert said...

Yes and no. There are also voting irregularities that have been reported far too often to just be outliers. And this is a bad thing for Democrats because the same irregularities that may have potentially kept Sanders supporters from voting could be used to keep Democrats in general from voting.

Or to put it another way: if I showed up for the Primary and was told "this is the wrong voting place for you and you're not registered anyway" then why bother to vote in the general election? I'll just be told I'm in the wrong place and not registered once more. It's just Republicans this time doing this to me instead of in theory Democrats.

And yes, I think it's about time for the United Nations to start observing American elections to make sure they're on the up-and-up. At worst, it will be a waste of the UN's money while the rest of the world get to see how democracy actually works. At best? Voting fraud goes on the wayside.

Rob H.

A.F. Rey said...

Well, the Right is giving the same reasons to vote for Trump as you give to vote for Hillary.

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/434914/hillary-is-worse

Jumper said...

It's possible the Republicans are too stupid to run a conspiracy, and all their efforts to screw up elections occurred because they simply forgot that primaries happen before the general elections. Many Republicans got fouled up and had problems voting. However, it's been made harder for some college students to vote lately. Although the dirty secret is that it's always been hard for them. (Locals don't like college students electing their mayors, etc.)

LarryHart said...

from the National Review article a few posts up:


But he [Trump] would make appointments, and personnel is policy, more so than ever in the post-constitutional era Obama has ushered in.


Yeah, the effing idiots who repeat s*** like that about President Obama as if it's established fact are going to vote for Donald Trump. I don't see why the guy even feels the need to apologize or excuse his decision--Trump (the Birther in Chief) is his kind of candidate.

Again, I may be wrong--I don't claim prescience--but I don't think his attitude reflects on the public at large.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

There are also voting irregularities that have been reported far too often to just be outliers. And this is a bad thing for Democrats because the same irregularities that may have potentially kept Sanders supporters from voting could be used to keep Democrats in general from voting.


Yes, Republican voter suppression is a problem, and we've got to be vigilant about it.

If Bernie supporters fell into traps that were set for Democrats in general by Republican legislatures, that is a bad thing, but I don't think you can blame it on the Hillary faction. Democrats did not create those stumbling blocks.

BTW, I just now (literally a few minutes ago) heard Norman Goldman argue with someone like you who thinks Hillary will hurt down-ticket races for Democrats, and he countered with a quote from a Democratic congressman from San Diego who was terrified of having to run with a "democratic socialist" at the top of the ticket. So I'm not just making stuff up.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

...just to show I'm not always against you...


And yes, I think it's about time for the United Nations to start observing American elections to make sure they're on the up-and-up


Embarrassing as it would be, I'd love to see that take place.

Robert said...

Please note, I don't actually think Hillary and her crew suppressed the vote. I do think that problems with polls, people sent to the wrong place, and on down the line could cause people who would have voted Democrat to not vote... and that it is likely more Republican shenanigans at play here.

The people reporting these irregularities are Sanders Supporters. They of course blamed Hillary. Thus my "in theory Democrats." (And of course there is also the question of how many were caught by the closed primary shtick.)

The solution of course is registering everyone and having Primaries be a State Holiday and the general election a Federal Holiday... and also some method of requiring workplaces to give employees paid leave to vote.

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

@Robert
The solution of course is registering everyone and having Primaries be a State Holiday and the general election a Federal Holiday... and also some method of requiring workplaces to give employees paid leave to vote.

In Australia, we call it 'Saturday'.
Of course, we also have compulsory voting, and a pesky great, big government organisation to handle voter registrations. It is far from trouble free and, if the current government is any guide, the results far from fool-proof. Still, I can only look on bemusedly at the tales of voter disenfranchisement that regularly come out of the US (and now UK!)

donzelion said...

@Robert - "The problem is that at one point, there WAS a liberal bias to the news media."

To believe in the 'liberal bias,' you have to believe that the corporations that paid for the news media (both directly, as in owning it, and indirectly, as in providing nearly all advertising revenue) were stupid, incompetent, and couldn't discern their own interests. In which case, you would have to believe that the government would be a little more effective at regulating the economy, because the companies that paid for the media are so ridiculously stupid that they couldn't protect themselves from the '4th Estate.'

"When Fox News showed up, it was filling that void."
There never was a void, except an absence of conspiracy claims and sensationalized anti-news. The perception of a void is a myth they deliberately concocted, which is not informative, so much as cult-like. The Trump Fiasco is an expression of that cult: every cult undergoes schisms and power struggles.

donzelion said...

@Robert - all that said, if you're interested in an "honest conservative news media organization" - I'd look to the Financial Times and the Economist (both formerly of Pearson, both excellent 'liberal' media in the classical libertarian tradition). In Europe, the Economist is regarded as a right wing rag, but I've found their commentary to be remarkably insightful - and nearly absent from America.

As for America, every time one magazine pops up that starts expressing an interesting conservative viewpoint, it gets co-opted by the Murdoch machine.

donzelion said...

@Jumper - So which cabal slipped us the devious and fundamentally inane insistence on terming everything "conservative" and "liberal"

You can blame the "Progressives" (and the 'regressives' they opposed, who preferred 'conservative'). The term 'liberal' - as in its Aristotlian meaning - is the proper medium between reckless squander of wealth, and ruthless hoarding of wealth. The meaning you ascribe (opposed by authoritarianism) dates primarily to the 18th century or so, and was in part a Protestant endeavor to co-opt a historically Catholic term.

"it's been made harder for some college students to vote lately. Although the dirty secret is that it's always been hard for them. (Locals don't like college students electing their mayors, etc.)"

Indeed, but the primary issues involve proving residency in a specific district. College students could vote in their previous district, but have to remember to complete forms. Every mandatory form results in lossage of a roughly predictable quantity of voters (1-5%). Yet omit those forms, and you get irregularities (and the lossage of another quantity of voters, albeit one that is less predictable and normally skews toward long-term residents).

Robert said...

Amusingly enough, I abstract both of those journals as part of my job. Not as often as I would enjoy, perhaps, but even so I'm a big fan of The Economist.

BTW, I'm not sure if this had been linked here or not, but here's an interesting article about skeletons in Sanders' closet that could probably be used against him. Do note, I'm voting Libertarian in any event so take anything I post with a grain of salt.

Rob H.

Don Hilliard said...

Rob -

As far back as the early '70s, Nixon and Agnew were claiming "liberal bias" in the media. It was BS then, it was BS when Nixon's past media expert Roger Ailes started Fox News, and it's BS now.

Timothy Crouse's THE BOYS ON THE BUS, written after the 1972 Presidential campaign (where Rolling Stone assigned him as Hunter S. Thompson's bagboy and bail-money carrier, and HST immediately put him to work reporting) is still a primary text in many Journalism courses...for good reason. One of Crouse's conclusions was that while reporters tended to be liberal, the owners and management of their outlets were far more conservative and tended to edit and present their reports accordingly. I see nothing that's changed in that structure 40+ years on.

I will also note that in 1993 or so, a group of right-wing officers and senior enlisted in the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service succeeded in having Rush Limbaugh added to the AFRTS radio schedule with the same argument of "balance" (aided by a bit of blackmail.)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

To believe in the 'liberal bias,' you have to believe that the corporations that paid for the news media (both directly, as in owning it, and indirectly, as in providing nearly all advertising revenue) were stupid, incompetent, and couldn't discern their own interests. In which case, you would have to believe that the government would be a little more effective at regulating the economy,


I believe the "liberal bias" in the news always had to do with that pesky liberal bias that reality has (credit Paul Krugman). That and the fact that the independent press itself is a liberal idea. It was conservative icon Grover Norquist who said that liberal journalists are journalists first, and conservative journalists are conservatives first.

All that aside, though, something did change during the Reagan years. Radio and tv news used to be judged on their reputations for integrity and getting the real story. Some time in the 1980s, news became just another radio or tv show, judged on ratings and profitability.

There is no modern day equivalent to Walter Cronkite.

Robert said...

Thus my views of a nonprofit news organization. BTW, did you note what I called "conservative" for news media? It wasn't politics.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

And another thing...

During the W Administration, reporters who did their job, asking probing questions, were said to be obviously biased against Bush, whereas so-called objective reporters were the ones who dutifully regurgitated the administration talking points without question. Thus turning both terms on their ear.

Alfred Differ said...

@Laurent Weppe: Sorry. No go. Do not collect $200.

The modern US CEO and Board member works in a way no traditional European aristocrat would have deigned to consider. Try imagining one of the UK heirs as a CEO. Does it compute? Our Executives and Directors are the closest things we have to an aristocracy, but they aren’t idle enough and they sully their hands in the affairs of commerce. I’ll grant that some might get away with it, but they’ll have to do it from the safety of private corporations. Try that in a publicly traded corporation and the shareholder lawsuits will bleed the company. What the US has is wanna-be’s. They are the haute bourgeois.

If you want to limit your focus to European firms or other nations, I’ll concede my ignorance. I wasn’t referring to them, though, nor do I think Locumranch was.

Regarding the extinction of the slave holders, I’m doubtful. You might want to brush up on our history in the generation before our Civil War erupted. Those folks were pushing their system into the North by forcing northerners to respect southern property laws. Look up the compromises made in Congress. Look at the demise of the US Whigs and how connected that event was to their north/south composition. They couldn’t settle the internal conflict without splitting, thus was born the early GOP. The rump party left behind was an embarrassment with respect to old Whig principles. Sound familiar?

Had we tolerated the South’s property laws in the North, the most likely outcome would have been a slow return to slavery in the entire nation. It’s not like many northerners actually wanted racial equality. In a modern sense, our ancestors were mostly rabid racists. That’s not fair, though, nor does it matter. Northerners eventually chose to end their tolerance of slavery even though they kept racist views.

Alfred Differ said...

All this was supposed to make the french working and middle-class feel proud, to make them believe that they belonged to an elite group: So we had the french ruling class, peddling to its subjects the dream of the intrinsically superior to all others french civilization, which of course englobed all Frenchmen, including those who didn't access the bountiful spoils of the oh so great empire.


Cool example of an state ownership statement of its citizens. You don't have to force it. Just force the belief. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Rob H: The problem is that at one point, there WAS a liberal bias to the news media. When Fox News showed up, it was filling that void. The problem is that while it could have provided truly balanced news media, it chose to overcompensate and divide people.

Sounds like a sales pitch from FOX to me. Lateral separation is useful in a competitive space. They did it well, but that doesn’t make it true.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Alfred

Do you have data about -
"The modern US CEO and Board member works in a way no traditional European aristocrat would have deigned to consider."

What does a board member do? - attend 15? meetings a year where he/she has all of his/her traveling arrangements orchestrated for him/her and the required information plus any (rare) questions is given to them wrapped in a nice ribbon by staffers

How is that any more than an aristocrat would have done to maintain his position in his society

And some of them manage to be board members for over 50 companies! - just how much are they contributing with one week a year??

CEO's - turn up when they want - and when they are not there they are still "working" by "thinking" and by socializing

From my viewpoint the most successful operate by NOT interfering with the levels below them - do you want the pointy haired boss making Dilbert's decisions?

There are some - those who have created the business who do a LOT more but the other 90%???? - Aristocrats work harder!

And don't give me crap about shareholder lawsuits - they are like rocking horse shit

David Brin said...

Rob sorry I find the assertion of widespread deliberate vote fraud on the demo side implausible for many reasons. The downside of being caught are far more severe than on the GOP side because there WOULD be a downside to being caught. And dems are notoriously disorganized and prone to be (as you are) splitters. It’s just not plausible to envision a major conspiracy involving dozens. Demmies are blabbermouths. Sorry. Anecdotes? sure.

“I'm voting Libertarian in any event”… what down the whole ticket? You face zero close races at all?

The the biggest NEW kind of cheating will be RF boiler rooms filled with social media trolls urging “fellow Sandersites” to form a new Nader movement.

Sorry Jumper, I think goppers are very very good at cheating. Trump may lose the electoral college big but come close in popular vote, because every white in Mississippi will be counted five times.

A.F.R. Bull. Trump aside, the reason to elect Hillary is the Supreme Court. It is 10,000 capable appointees instead of 10,000 crony-thief-shills. It is a military used cautiously instead of spent like candy. It is ending Citizens United and tsunami corruption in politics.

It is the pure fact that getting Half of what Bernie asks for is far better than none, which is what you get under EITH president Trump OR President Sanders!

Sandersites who claim that non-Bernies are “just slightly squishy republicans” should look up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which this week issued regulations preventing banks etc from banning clients joining class action suits. The GOP fought like hell to block the CFPB and then to neuter it. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/05/476897917/new-rule-would-make-it-easier-for-consumers-to-sue-banks

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

Dr. Brin, I live within half an hour's drive of Boston. I could vote a straight Republican ticket and not influence a single election. So, basically yes. Any Libertarian candidate on the ballot will get my check. Not so much because I am a diehard Libertarian but because I think the Libertarians are a hell of a lot better than the Republicans and would actually negotiate and talk like grownups with Democrats, and I want to help the Libertarians replace the Republicans.

And if there's only one candidate or only a Republican and a Democrat? I'll not vote for that specific election.

BTW, I didn't say there was widespread deliberate voter fraud on the Democratic side. I stated "in theory" because I was working and didn't want to spend a lot of time writing something to the effect of "conspiracy-minded individuals who would rather believe Hillary is responsible for everything wrong than a combination of Republican shenanigans, the failure of voters to confirm they could vote or where to vote, and honest mistakes."

Just like when I wrote about Fox News, I was not trying to imply "Fox had its hearts in the right place but went too far" but was trying to say "Fox has been poisoning its viewers since its inception" and was ALSO trying to say we need nonprofit news organizations that return to the old type of news: accurate and with an attempt at being unbiased with a conservative mindset that confirms stories rather than jumping to conclusions.

Meh. Doesn't matter. People assume what they want to see.

Rob H.

Alfred Differ said...

@Duncan: Exactly what a Director does depends a bit on the company, but the role is pretty well understood. They represent shareholders in a public company and bear the burden of hiring and firing Executive Management. They are also the people most easily held liable when a company does something illegal. If they are part of a growing company (start-ups) they are heavily involved in recruitment at the executive and management levels and in the establishment of strategic partnerships. If the company is a non-profit, they are heavily involved in raising money. In our golf-buddy system, Directors of one company are Executives of another, so we can expand their duties to include strategic planning and the hiring and firing of lower management.

I’m not going to try to compare what they do to the petite bourgeois. We already know you and I have differences regarding relative value-adds. What I’m pointing out is that no respectable member of the aristocracy treats the haute bourgeois as equals. They may pretend they do for access to money and other resources, but that’s politics, not commerce.

I’ve been on two Boards, both small, so that won’t satisfy your data skepticism. I’ve seen what investors with any money expect of Directors, though, because I’ve tried unsuccessfully to lure their interest. That isn’t likely to satisfy you either. Would anything? Are you DEFINING the haute bourgeois as aristocracy? If so, THAT is the error I’m pointing out. You can read about the difference in one of McCloskey’s big tomes if you like. Her apologia at the front of the ‘Virtues’ book is only 50 pages or so.

Dilbert’s Pointy Haired Boss is a parody of clueless middle and lower management. He’s nowhere near the haute bourgeois, let alone the aristocracy.

Alfred Differ said...

Wow. Someone actually thinks the Libertarians would talk like grownups. My heart swells with happiness.

I switched my registration to Libertarian after the 2012 election. California Dems don't really need me. I've met a few of my new friends and I'm not convinced they are sane, but SOME of them are. 8)

David Brin said...

Rob H I have no objections to your explanation. In your position I might do the same.

Libertarians. I minister to them, from time to time, because they seem most to have still a bump of curiosity and joy in argument that one actually can learn a little from. 95% of them have been sucked into a definition-version of "libertarianism" that is raving silly propertarianism and reflex defense of the oligarchs who destroyed competitive markets everywhere for 6000 years...

...but they are not lost completely and many of them are willing to hear another version. Some have even heard of Adam Smith.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

BTW, I didn't say there was widespread deliberate voter fraud on the Democratic side...

Just like when I wrote about Fox News, I was not trying to imply "Fox had its hearts in the right place but went too far" but was trying to say "Fox has been poisoning its viewers since its inception" and was ALSO trying to say we need nonprofit news organizations that return to the old type of news: accurate and with an attempt at being unbiased with a conservative mindset that confirms stories rather than jumping to conclusions.

Meh. Doesn't matter. People assume what they want to see.


Or maybe your shorthand doesn't communicate your intent as well as you think. On FOX in particular, I also read your original comment almost diametrically opposite this explanation of what you meant to imply.

For months, I thought you were the biggest Bernie Bro because you slammed me as a Hillary-lover whenever I claimed the math pointed to a Hillary victory, and so I still find it amusing that you didn't even vote for Bernie and I did.

Frank Alejano said...

I think you're being a bit hard on yourself re: Ted Cruz. Your one definite mistake was assuming Cruz would be able to make nice with Trump without compromising what little popularity he has left in his own party. The rest is spot on, I think.

Either Cruz realized that he would lose the fundamentalist vote by joining team Trump- the only vote he has left- or he realized that Trump despised him and would never choose him as a VP. So he went with plan C- four years in the desert (ala Reagan) and a triumphant(?) comeback in 2020. Not much of a plan, but that's all he's got.

A.F. Rey said...

A.F.R. Bull. Trump aside, the reason to elect Hillary is the Supreme Court. It is 10,000 capable appointees instead of 10,000 crony-thief-shills. It is a military used cautiously instead of spent like candy. It is ending Citizens United and tsunami corruption in politics.

Dr. Brin, you missed my point. Mark's argument was precisely the mirror image of yours: that the reason to elect Trump is the Supreme Court and appointing Republican appointees.

I can almost see him now. A man with your face, but sporting a goatee, telling his troops, "Defeat Hillary, and we all move up a rank." :)

Berial said...

@Robert - "When Fox News showed up, it was filling that void."
I think the "void' being filled was the one felt by paranoid and conspiratorial right.

Check out this post on an economics blog about 'The Paranoid Style in American Politics' by Richard Hofstadter.

The blog post: Economist View

John Kurman said...

What is going on with the alt-right movement?

http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/is-the-alt-right-for-real

DVGill said...

As a teacher who worked in Ohio and helped to fight back against Kasich's ALEC-spawned anti-union bills, I was happy to see him go away. I think enough people outside of Ohio got the word that his position statements don't matter, because he's simply a liar.

Robert said...

Congrats to SpaceX for pulling off the damn difficult!

From what I've read, SpaceX successfully landed their first stage rocket, which was moving at twice the speed of the previous barge-landing rocket, with three seconds of rocket fuel left.

Now that is audacity! (Also rather interesting was another article I saw suggesting a growth of risk aversion in NASA is responsible for it failing to innovate on the level that SpaceX has. And you must admit, if NASA crash-landed even two rockets in trying to land them and reuse them, then Congress would yank its funding and call it a waste of money.

Rob H.

locumranch said...


As in the case of Glen Beck (1), the pending irrelevancy of the Koch/Murdoch/FOX/Republican Party Establishment provides reason for all true liberals, libertarians & conservatives to celebrate, but much less so for Clinton & the Bezos/Roberts/MSNBC/Democratic Party Establishment hypocrites who face similar decline (2).

We are witnessing something quite historic:

The End of Mass Media Business Era (3) and, with it, the End of the Mass Media Political Model, replacing the once dominant top-down information hierarchy with a bottom-up model wherein the public rejects the official narrative (once used to manufacture public consent by the control & dissemination of critical information) in favour of an empiric narrative based on individual experience, explaining the rise of the Alt-Right & Nationalism.

Simply put, the public isn't buying the same-old officious crap anymore about how Loyalty and Hard Work are 'rewarded by society', how Unemployment is 'at an all-time low', how the Economy has 'never been better', how Higher Education 'guarantees a good job', how our Financial System 'cares about the Little Guy', how Uncontrolled Immigration 'strengthens first-world financial security' & how Globalism 'benefits first-world labour', especially when a preponderance of common experience prove these claims to be FALSE.

Either way, the Nationalists are coming (represented by Trump, Sanders & PEDIGA to name a few) to set these lies to right:

(1) http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/04/28/40-layoffs-as-glenn-beck-s-blaze-empire-continues-its-decline-and-fall.html

(2) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/06/rush-limbaugh-msnbc-ratings-troubles_n_6630306.html

(3) http://www.inma.org/blogs/disruptive-innovation/post.cfm/end-of-mass-media-era-means-end-of-mass-media-business-model


Best

Jumper said...

Negative on the meaning of "liberal," donzelion. It means "freedom" from the Latin; Aristotle likely used "lítrosi" for "un-obligated," roughly or "eleutheria" which may come from "arriving (at a loved place, perhaps "home"?) Maybe "off duty." Not "balanced." The scales likely come from greek "litra" a coin (weight.)

Jumper said...

And this:
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/02/the-origin-of-liberalism/283780/

Ioan said...

Hehe Laurent,

I have an anecdote from my great-aunt. I don't know how true this is, since her memory wasn't always reliable. Apologies if this gets off topic.

As you may know, I'm from Romania. According to her (based on what her parents told her), before WWI, it was assumed within E. Europe that it would be colonized by one of the 4 large Empires (British, French, Germans, or Russians). After all, E. Europe was one of the few places on Earth not yet colonized or industrialized. A large group of people in her parent's days even had a preference: they wanted France to colonize them. So in the early 1900s, there was an attempt to convince the populace to submit to French colonialism. People in her parent's generation were educated on the same imported and translated textbooks you mentioned. After WWI, the same textbooks were used for her education, and learning the French language was strongly encouraged. (She still had some of the books and showed them to me, thus I remember the picture you're describing.) In her opinion, Romania's membership in the Francophonie (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organisation_internationale_de_la_Francophonie) is an artifact of the movement to model Romania based on "the superior French culture".

I don't know if I would believe her though. She after all told me that she believed that WWI was "the scramble for Eastern Europe gone wrong". Just putting this out there. In other words, take the story above with a mountain of salt.

Ioan said...

Btw, anyone looking to understand the attitude Laurent tries to describe, I think you can find an English translation of the children's book "Babar the Elephant".

A.F. Rey said...

Interesting interview with Norm Ornstein, who said Trump would do well back in the summer of 2015, and thinks its the Republican Party's fault:

http://www.vox.com/2016/5/6/11598838/donald-trump-predictions-norm-ornstein

Alfred Differ said...

Romanians honestly thought France could colonize there? hmm. Sounds desperate.
Why weren't the Austrians on her list?

David Brin said...

Ioan very interesting insight!

AFR I get you. Certainly some of the normal GOP appointee hopeful factotums would prefer a slim chance of appointment under Trump to a zero chance under Hillary. But the vigor of their Donald support will be moderated by wondering if the old GOP establishment will remember and punish, when/if DT loses. SOme will deem it best to sit out… or join the coterie clustered around the LP candidate.

(“DT”… never saw the initials used before. Delerium Tremens?)

Mr. Kurman thanks for that link. EVERYBODY look at http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/is-the-alt-right-for-real

locum starts cogently. Yes, the mass media era is waning. The GOP establishment could not buy this election with TV ads. But he tries (desperately) for equivalence between Blue propaganda and Red. There’s none. Fox remains a very successful business with tens of millions who stay glued, despite FOx lies being revealed again and again. Fox will (with agility) make nice to the Trump mob, to keep them glued.

MSNBC tried the polemical koolaid-center approach and tanked. Liberals wander in, watch a bit, then wander off seeking diversity of sources. The proof of this difference in psychology is seen on MSNBC’s barely profitable bottom line.

And yes, Locum and Limbaugh crow over this, while in fact it simply shows that Blues are (largely) sane and reds are slavish members of a Nuremberg rally.

Ioan said...

2 reasons Austria was excluded

1. Everybody but the Austrians knew the Austro-Hungarian Empire was unstable and on borrowed time. (same with the Ottoman Empire)

2. Austria was basically Germany in a lot of people's minds. From what she told me (again, don't know if it's true), there was an expectation that Austria would eventually unify with Germany).

Again, I'm assuming what she told me is true. Look at it from the perspective of an agrarian early 20th century country. Look at how expansive the European Empires were (from Romanian's perspective all of Latin America was de facto part of the American Empire). Everyone knew the Empires wanted more territory; they weren't satisfied with what they had. How many widely-known examples of an agrarian nation industrializing fast enough to withstand a colonial invasion were there?

So from their perspective, it was inevitable that they were going to be absorbed by one of the Empires. Wouldn't it make sense for the country to at least try and choose which Empire they wanted?

In retrospect, we know that this was a flawed analysis. But for people at that time, it did make sense, at least in my opinion. Please let me know if you disagree?

Ioan said...

A less romantic interpretation of that situation would be that the Romanian aristocracy thought they could get the best deal for themselves if they surrendered the country to France without a fight.

Alfred Differ said...

@Ioan: I don't disagree. The way you put it makes sense. One always has to take stories form one's grandparents with some skepticism, but it is too easy to ignore them. Ground Truth is hard enough to come by without rejecting it when it arrives.

I've seen material that suggested the Central empires would have unified eventually. If not politically, there would have been a hegemonic agreement. That was always Germany's safest path to dominance on the continent. It would have revived the old HRE, but with a different center, many more people, industry, and power. It had to be opposed by France and Russia as an existential threat.

I ask because Romania's current situation between Powers isn't all that different (and I like to learn about these things). They can seek protection where it seems to make sense as was considered a century ago. The best option I've seen, though, involves an alliance of their own making separating the EU from the old Soviet bloc countries involving the Baltic nations, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia. As the location for the next most likely location for a cold war battle front between the US and Russia, that alliance would be of particular interest to the US... which means attention and $$.

Jumper said...

The only Romanian I know spoke French too.

Ioan said...

I agree with you that Romania's current situation isn't all that different.

Your prediction is vaguely worded. Here's how I understand it: Romania, Central Europe, and the Baltics would split from the EU into their own alliance.

Take this with a grain of salt since I haven't lived in Romania for decades. However, I don't think Romania wants to split from the US or the EU. The lesson learned from the EU is that the safest place to be in the event of a Cold War. Unless the EU makes demands that are intolerable, their position needs access to the independent nuclear deterrent of the UK and France in case the US later becomes unreliable. Any attempts to make their own nukes invites Russian proxy wars long before their finished. They're stuck with existing nuclear powers, but it's much safer to be indispensable to more than one nuclear power.

Alfred Differ said...

As I've read and understood it, the EU won't be the safe group to bind to if the US and Russia start another Cold War. The problem is the front line will be further east, thus nations like France will not be as motivated to act. Germany might actually dither in a way they absolutely could not last time. If you can't be sure of those two, what power does the EU represent? The problem with expect the US to help is we generally don't act first. We rely upon strong partners in a region to balance things to avoid a war in the first place. Nations in a poor position aren't good candidates for this. Nations who bring together others into an overlay alliance might be. There would be no need for Romania to abandon goals regarding the EU, US, or anyone else. They would simply add another layer on top creating stronger options. No splits.

Alt.History and Alt.Future are fun things to think about. We get to exercise our forebrains that way. I think I'm going to stay away from politics this weekend, though, and then make some popcorn for Tuesday. I'm exhausted. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Okay. I read the article on the alt.right. Sounds like there is a good Transparency argument in there.

Ioan said...


Short answer. Romania has 2 choices: Be bound to the EU and be destroyed in the event of a nuclear or be neutral and be destroyed by proxy wars in the event of a Cold War that doesn't turn hot. From history, the former is safer. The third option you're thinking about doesn't actually exist in reality.

Ioan said...

Ok, I've reread it. A little tip: no offense. I have been raised in the West so I'm familiar with the thinking behind the statement. If you're actually talking to someone from that culture, you have to state your assumptions. Why would a smaller alliance than the EU make sense? Isn't NATO enough? What is the risk of France or Germany dithering compared to the US dithering. That is a particular problem with Americans: you're assuming that the US government will continue to resemble the post 1920s structure. What is the probability that in the next 20 years it reverts back to its 1880's structure? It's 1830's structure? That has to be balanced against the risk of Germany or France dithering.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Alfred
Why should the EU worry about Russia?

Russia's military is slightly bigger than any ONE member - but Russia does not have the required military supremacy to conquer Poland - never mind Germany!

If attacked the combined EU military is larger than any other forces except the USA and about three or four times the size of the Russian's

Robert said...

Because Russia would use nukes at this point. Putin would not allow his military to be defeated.

Rob H.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Robert
Both the UK and France have nukes as well - Russia is no a credible threat anymore

Deuxglass said...

Loan,

Perhaps another reason why Romanians would have preferred to be colonized by the French is the similarities between the French and the Romanian languages. They are both derived from Latin and share vocabulary and sentence structure. English, German and Russian are very different and not based on Latin at all. There could be cultural affinities as well in outlook and traditions dating from the Roman Empire days. Romania adopted the Napoleonic Code in the 1860’s so their legal systems would be close to identical. Romanians would feel closer to the French because of these already-existing ties than to the other contenders.

Ioan said...

Agreed Deuxglass. Btw, my name is spelled ioan in all lowercase.

According to her, here were the stereotypes of the Empires at that time

1. Russian: Culturally Byzantine (a good thing back then) but it would be a return to the feudalism Romania spent the 19th century escaping

2. Germany: too much "machinism". I'm not sure English has a modern meaning for that term. The closest translations are "mechanization" and "robotization", but both of those acquired different meanings in the latter half of the 20th century. I have to explain that. Machinism was the term for an ideology where "everything ran on time, showed order, and society worked with the efficiancy of a machine"

3. British: An Empire obsessed with making money and swindling each other out of that money

4. France: A culture which focused on art, science, sculpture, poetry, and architecture. The Haussmann redesign of Paris. Basically, it ticked all the right nostalgia buttons for the nostalgia towards the Roman Empire which was prevalent until WWII.

There was a cartoon she showed me, which I can't seem to find on Google. It is late 19th/early 20th century. It shows a caricature of each Empire in Africa. Germany's example included a line of giraffes goosestepping. Back then, goosestepping was a symbol of machinism. Needless to say, the Nazis didn't have a sense of humor about that cartoon.

Ioan said...

Deuxglass,

I forgot to add that I agree with your reasoning. I was simply pointing out stereotypes that are rarely taught these days which factor into the appeal.

greg byshenk said...

At the end of the last thread, Zepp Jamieson said...

If my only choices in nearby restaurants are McDonalds and Burger King, if I elect to stay home and cook my own dinner, is that considered "having a snit"?

I wanted to point out that this seems to be a particularly silly analogy. What one chooses for dinner has little effect on anything other than that evening's dinner, while that it not true for an election. (Some would argue that an individual's vote has little effect, but that is a different sort of question than dissatisfaction with the choices being offered.)

Deuxglass said...

ioan,

Sorry I misspelled your name. Do you get back to Dacia often?

Laurent Weooe said...

* "Both the UK and France have nukes as well - Russia is no a credible threat anymore"

Russia may not be a credible military threat to western european nations anymore (which is why Putin didn't shell Kiev the way he shelved Aleppo: doing so would sufficiently freak out Europeans to make them merge their militaries, and you don't want the civilization which spent 400 years raping and plundering the rest of the planet to gear up for war again), but you have to act the facts that it's subsidizing fascist parties, bribing more "traditional" politicians and pundits, and that part of the white bourgeoisie is seduced by its authoritarian model because these morons believe that they would belong to the ruling class in such a regime.

Deuxglass said...

Also your call sign looks to be close to Eugène Ionesco, the great French-Romanian playwright. Is that by accident or on purpose?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Laurent

You are right there!
But the best way of preventing outside influences is to have a good improving moderately equal society
By increasing inequality the Neoliberals have opened the door

LarryHart said...

A F Rey:

Dr. Brin, you missed my point. Mark's argument was precisely the mirror image of yours: that the reason to elect Trump is the Supreme Court and appointing Republican appointees


If I may interject, I think the point is that Democrats need to recognize the importance of that aspect of an election. Not that Republicans won't. On the contrary, we have to recognize the importance and act accordingly because the Republicans already are.

Jumper said...

David, did you see this? Creative Control - movie trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_VHWoX6fgEc

Ioan said...

Deuxglass,

No. Ioan is the Romanian translation of John. I haven't been back since 2011.

locumranch said...


Whilst the Established Right demonstrates investment & ownership in the Establishment, the Alt-Right is an amorphous non-militant entity that practices disengagement -- what is colloquially known as 'ZFG' and 'Going Galt' -- because it has lost faith in establishment intent & narrative.

Typified by the more passionate, engaged & soon to be disillusioned 'Bernie Bros', the Left's coming 'loss of faith in establishment intent & narrative' will most likely lead to a much more 'sinister' occurrence, the re-emergence of the Alt-Left's 'Red Brigades', as the only alternatives to Ultra-Nationalism's rising tide.

The EU will then most resemble the vomit of a stray dog, following France down into undemocratic martial law (Etat d'Urgence at 7 months & counting) and religious-based civil conflict, leading yet another generation of Romanian Royalists & Babar Worshippers into the arms of another Ceaușescu.


Best

_____
Besides being a beloved children's fairy story, King Babar was a frigging tyrant, albeit a benign one, explaining why Democracy never really 'took' in most of Europe because it's children have been conditioned as royalists since birth.

locumranch said...


addendum:

It is no surprise that Romania is the purported home of Dracula, a tyrannical inbred aristocratic hemophiliac with inverted Babar-like tusks who resides in a castle only to suck the blood out of a willing & submissive proletariat.

Tom Crowl said...

This is just food for thought amid all the discussions re Liberal vs Conservative or Socialism vs. Capitalism... etc... and general questions of governance.

As I've suggested there are socio-biological issues for humans which pre-date politics, ideologies or even language itself and may be worth consideration.

(Please, I'm only suggesting there are areas for thought here and perhaps some avenues for different ways of thinking about politics.... not that we're organizationally limited by the troop sizes of chimpanzees.)

Zoo keepers understand that you can't keep too many apes together w/o things becoming fractious beyond manageability.

IF:

One was attempting to overcome that obstacle... to manage a much larger group of chimps in proximity together (larger than their normal troop size) without complete social breakdown...

What issues would have to be addressed?

Dominance issues?

Resource distribution?

Conflict resolution?

Biological altruism and its ties to troop size?

Again, I'm neither suggesting that we're bound by our biological roots... nor that its even possible to solve the above hypothetical

All I'm suggesting is that there are issues which may not be resolvable w/o at least considering this sort of question.

LarryHart said...

@locumranch

Dr Brin has already mentioned several times that vampires represent the aristocratic monster feared by the masses, whereas zombies represent the opposite.

Ioan said...

Locum,

Please check the maps of the era when Bram Stoker wrote Dracula. At the time, Transylvania was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Most of the "experts" in the origin of Dracula tend to miss this point, among others.

David Brin said...

Guys, learn to recognize when he's just in snarl mode.

Jumper said...

Tom, that's an interesting question. I would guess that slowly increasing the troupe size over multiple generations might help, as opposed to sudden increases in size. 400 years to go from 15 to 40?

Jumper said...

Hmm. Troop sizes are larger than I thought, up to 150 according to Wikipedia. That's more than I can handle in my human sphere.

Jumper said...

Check out shale gas reserves in western Europe, esp. Romania.
http://www.economist.com/news/business/21571171-extracting-europes-shale-gas-and-oil-will-be-slow-and-difficult-business-frack-future

Laurent Weppe said...

* "By increasing inequality the Neoliberals have opened the door"

True: allowing inequality to increase was the baby boomers' original political sin (yeah, I'm blaming my parents' whole generation: sue me). As I'm fond of reminding people: when the Berlin Wall fell, the per capital GDP of East Germany was at 70% of West Germany's: not that far behind and had the concentration of wealth then been at its pre-keynesian level, the average east-european worker would have been significantly richer than her western counterpart.

Western nations didn't outlast the USSR become capitalism is awesome: they outlasted the USSR because during most of the cold war their political elites curbed down income inequality. Rich heirs often whine about regulations and redistributive policies, but to be blunt, without these, their children would most probably be either dead or the enslaved rape-toys of some revolutionary commissar by now.

donzelion said...

@Laurent - "I believe the "liberal bias" in the news always had to do with that pesky liberal bias that reality has (credit Paul Krugman)."

Perhaps. Most 'progressives' are 'conservative' in some respect (that is, cautious, fact-checking, challenging fanciful claims and seeking evidence before making judgments). The "conservative" faction in America though has taken healthy skepticism to the realm of unhealthy disdain for evidence itself. The difference would be between the scientist who doubts a theory, and requires evidence and testing before endorsing it, vs. the evangelist who doubts God, and overcomes those doubts through rigorous action, including denouncing other doubters.

Facts themselves are apolitical, but fears are themselves 'facts' (they exist, and their existence matters).

"Radio and tv news used to be judged on their reputations for integrity and getting the real story."
I'm cautious about the nostalgia effect (again, the conservativism in my progressivism). For millions of homosexuals in the 1920s, they were never 'the story' - for African Americans in the 1880s. The Spanish War and the War of 1812 were media creatures, and the press of the 1800s was scandal-riddled and conspiratorial (the Catholics are coming! the darkies are raping our white women!)

"There is no modern day equivalent to Walter Cronkite."
Perhaps Jon Stewart served as our neo-Cronkite "voice of decency." That tells us a lot about who we are, rather than the role that either Cronkite or Stewart played in our social psyche.

donzelion said...

@Dr. Brin - "I find the assertion of widespread deliberate vote fraud on the demo side implausible for many reasons."

At every material level (that is, absolutely any step that might involve counting a vote), in New York City at least, there must be at least one Democrat and one Republican who monitor the outcome and verify the process. There's no way to make things completely fair - people die, and don't tell the Board of Elections about it - people move (often), and don't notify the Board - the notifications get sent in 5 different languages, and often in quasi-English that makes no sense, listing addresses that don't exist, or they get drunk and file crazy garbage - the Board struggles to handle real world people, who often do goofy things that make it hard to count their votes. But they try hard.

There's a reason why Guiliani and Bloomberg were both Democrats who converted to Republicans to become mayor - it's a convoluted system at the district level, but the voting apparatus in NYC is fair (and is tested so often, at so many levels, by so many players from so many positions that this testing keeps it fair).

locumranch said...



(1) No offense was meant to Ioan & any other lurking Carpathians, just pointing out that Vlad, Babar, Celeste, Vlad & their similarly aristocratic ilk are hardly a democratic precedent;

(2) Primate troop size is both finite & subject to the classic 'green monkey' out-group exclusion, meaning that our ongoing cultural 'fetishisation of the other' is also finite;

(3) That, and many of the older US Democratic Party machines were notorious for both corruption & voter fraud, especially in Chicago (where the Obamas earned their political chops) during the various Daley years.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/national/06chicago.html?_r=2&

http://www.nbcnews.com/id/28141995/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/illinois-has-long-legacy-public-corruption/#.Vy5vptUrKJc


Best

Hendrik Boom said...

Whoever it was, they learned the lesson of Newspeak from George Orwell's 1984.

Hendrik Boom said...

Whoever it was, they learned the lesson of Newspeak from George Orwell's 1984.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Completely off topic
I read the Three Body Problem and the Dark Forest - just getting interesting so I went to buy the third book - and it's not out yet!!

I have read quite a few new writers recently - and I have NOT found any that have become "buy automatically"

David Brin said...

Mouse tracking jerkily lately, re my iMac. Anyone with a suggestion?

Paul451 said...

Today, Australia's PM called a "double dissolution" election. (Where the entire Senate is dismissed for re-election. Not just half. Every seat in both houses up for election.)

After around a month of media speculation, we look forward to an eight week campaign. Starting now, vote in July.

It's about six hours into the election proper and I'm already sick of it.

No idea how you guys cope.

--

[TV news has been hovering over the ritual of the PM asking the Governor General's permission to call an election. None seemed to care about the madness that both men started from their official second residences down the street from each other in Sydney, where they actually live, flew back to Canberra on separate RAAF VIP jets to their official primary residences, where they don't live, so that the PM could then visit the GG's residence to ask for an election.]

--

Re: Meeses,

Wireless :- Interference. Something borking the bluetooth freqs.

Optical :- Surface reflection. You using the mouse on a shiny new surface? Or else, just the optical sensor gets dirty or old.

Old mechanical type :- Dirty rollers.

Robert said...

Furry: Did you feed it lately? ;)

Rob H.

Jonathan Sills said...

"Guys, learn to recognize when he's just in snarl mode."

There's a time when he's not?

Then again, we're talking about someone who seems to think Romania, Wallachia, and Transylvania are all the same place and have been throughout history, and that Vlad Tepes was actually a historical vampire named Dracula, so...

David Brin said...

onward

onward