Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sci Fi Visions

"I define science fiction as the art of the possible. Fantasy is the art of the impossible. Science fiction, again, is the history of ideas, and they are always ideas that work themselves out and become real and happen in the world. And fantasy comes along and says, 'We're going to break all the laws of physics.' Most people don't realize it, but the series of films which have made more money than any other series of films in the history of the universe is the James Bond series. They're all science fiction, too-romantic, adventurous, frivolous, fantastic science fiction!" 
         --  Ray Bradbury’s definition of science fiction(See my own article, asking How to Define Science Fiction.)

Hold on for pocket reviews of some of the more interesting, recent Science Fiction novels.  But first...

Many of you are fans of Eric Flint's marvelous "1632" universe. Perhaps not the most likely alternate history series but by-far the most successful. And fun. Well, okay, I finally broke down and wrote a little story that explores the underpinnings while extending it in unexpected directions... and Erik loved it! My story is the cover-lead in the latest 1632 anthology Ring of Fire IV, along with admirable stories by Charles E. Gannon, Eric Flint, David Carrico, Robert Waters and others. When Grantville landed in 1632, what happened to the town whose place it took? Find out in my story "71" -- which you can now read for free on the Baen Books site!

We discuss this universe in the latest Baen Books podcast, along with other distinguished and creative authors participating in Ring of Fire IV.

Looking for news about future tech? "Scout" is a new experiment in online community exploring the social implications of technology through reporting, science fiction, and foresight - "building a platform that gives you the power to create your own model of the future and to play through possibility with a community of brilliant thinkers." Free weekly news dispatches plus other members-only services. Launched by Berit Anderson and Brett Horvath. Check it out!

The Economics of Thrones and Starships, a podcast on Imaginary Worlds (hosted by Eric Molinsky), discusses a theme at the root of many science fiction and fantasy stories – the economics of scarcity and abundance. How would the world be different if resources were not limited -- if replicators can make anything appear instantly? Or if advances in technology allow us to meet (or exceed) the needs of people worldwide? A theme Peter H. Diamandis took up in Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think.

== Brief looks at Science Fiction ==

Keep up with the latest news and books from your favorite authors: A list of Science Fiction authors on Twitter.


Scheduled for release June 7: an anthology of The Best Science Fiction of the Year (Volume 1), edited by Neil Clarke, with stories from Nancy Kress, Ian McDonald, Seanan McGuire, Alastair Reynolds, Carrie Vaughn, Ann Leckie, Ken Liu, Aliette de Bodard, Brenda Cooper, Geoff Ryman, Paul McAuley, and...I have an entry: 'The Tumbleweeds of Cleopatra Abyss.' See the full Table of Contents here. Sample some of the best short science fiction from 2015!

From Blastr: a fun list of 12 SciFi/Fantasy novels that channel the flavor of hardboiled noir fiction, including Isaac Asimov's The Caves of Steel, Jonathan Lethem's Gun, with Occasional Music, George Alec Effinger's When Gravity Fails, China Mieville's The City and the City, Richard K. Morgan's Altered Carbon, and Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union
My own Kiln People gets a shout-out here.

Barsk, The Elephant’s Graveyard, by Lawrence M. Schoen, was a finalist for this year's Nebula Awards. In this distant future, humans no longer exist, but the galaxy is filled with sapient descendants of animals that humans upliftedThis is a tale of the Fant, descended from terrestrial elephants, who have been ostracized to the planet Barsk. Looked down upon by many races, the Fant are the keepers of the powerful drug koph, prized for its ability to allow certain particularly sensitive individuals (Speakers) to communicate with the dead. But other species desperately seek this knowledge, and will stop at nothing to learn the secrets of this drug. Schoen has developed a beautifully detailed world of anthropomorphic animals - in some ways reminiscent of Cordwainer Smith - that will resonate deeply with the reader.

Lagoon, by Nnedi Okorafor, offers an unusual take on First Contact in Africa, written partly in response to the dismal story of District 9. When aliens land in the waters off Lagos, their first act is to purify the polluted ocean and make the sealife bigger and smarter, even into monsters. A targeted tidal wave sweeps three individuals out to sea, down to the alien ship; they re-emerge, along with a shape-shifting alien ambassador in human form, who claims to come in peace, seeking a new home. Many people of the city seek to use the extraterrestrial for their own purposes. Chaos ensues, with riots, fighting, shooting, and looting. With a sonic boom, a hundred more aliens walk out of the rising waters, in the guise of humans. As these agents of change sweep across the land, Nigeria will never be the same…

Transcendental, by James Gunn, begins a bold new trilogy set in future when a post-Singularity humanity has to deal with a Galactic Federation that is well intentioned, but too stodgy to notice that it is in terrible danger. In a fragile post-war peace, a Riley, a war veteran, sets off an interstellar voyage accompanying pilgrims in search of a machine that promises the fulfillment of transcendence. Along the way, alien and human passengers have their own Canterbury-like tales to tell. But Riley is under orders to find (and kill) the mysterious Prophet -- whose promises of enlightenment are destabilizing the galaxy. The saga continues in the next volume, TransgalacticOne of the Grand Masters of Science Fiction does it again!

The Book of Strange New Things, by Michel Faber is science fiction by a non-SF author, a tale where faith meets the alien. Peter, a former junkie, is a Christian missionary who has been selected by the shadowy megacorporation USIC to travel to the distant planet Oasis. There he finds the indigenous population already familiar with Christianity and desperate to hear more from his “book of strange new things.” As Peter builds his church and attempts to communicate and minister to alien minds, he begins to question his mission, and who he is serving. The situation on Earth is rapidly falling apart, with natural disasters and social upheaval, yet Peter’s connection to Earth becomes ever more tenuous, even as urgent messages from his wife pull at him.  Moving at times, slow at others, the novel ventures into territory also covered by Mary Doria Russell in The Sparrow and James Blish in A Case of Conscience.

Also, check out Dandelion Seeds, a Collection of Short Stories just released by Steve DeGroof, creator of the always amusing Tree Lobsters webcomic. This started as a response to the Twitter hashtag #FirstLineToMyNovel -- carried out to eighteen science fiction stories, collected here.

Finally... At a recent UCSD filmatic festival, I got to try out “Sonar” - a new VR-immersive 360 degree, 3D experience for the Gear system (using Samsung phones). It takes you down into catacombs beneath the bowels of an asteroid where you finally (SPOILER) encounter alien skeletons. 

Um, does anyone else find that familiar? As in precisely a scene from my novel Existence? Except for the (unexplained) ship collapse near the end… is it possible that the creators - Philipp Maas and Dominik Stockhausen – might owe me at least a dinner? Oh, it is well-directed and the music rocks.  Still.

114 comments:

Ioan said...

I have a few questions about your Ring of Fire story. I'll ask most later, the ones below are the ones off the top of my head.

Why the Judean Revolt? Why not the Roman Civil Wars which ended the Republic and brought about the Empire? The Punic Wars?

Are you planning on continuing that universe? If so, how are you planning to cover the collapse of the Roman Empire? I imagine the Roman generals would be VERY interested in that

Why did the time-traveling Germans not tell the truth about the year they were in?

Finally, what contributions can 17th century German mercenaries make to the Roman Empire?

A.F. Rey said...

To step off topic for a moment...

The latest polls have Libertarian Gary Johnson is currently polling at about 10 percent.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/pay-attention-to-libertarian-gary-johnson-hes-pulling-10-vs-trump-and-clinton/

Perhaps this is the nudge that the Koch brothers need to back him?

Anyway, back to the more fun stuff...

David Brin said...

Good questions. I wanted a collision of cultures that would be as jarring at the one where a year 2000 town lands in 1632 Germany. It had to be a violent time of crisis, like the Thirty Years War. And a similar level of technological advantage for the interlopers, who are fewer in number than the Grantvillers, but gunpowder and plows and stirrups and better metallurgy and printing presses will make them wonders, if they can survive.

Also, I have wondered, what if some of the Jewish Christians survived the fall of Jerusalem, e.g. James the brother of Jesus? They had exiled Paul of Tarsus to Greece where he wound up inheriting complete authority, once James and the others died. But suppose that aspect also shifted?

Would I be willing to oversee other authors exploring this opening? Sure.

But the main story is about... science fiction! The "true" parts are set in 1636 and concern the ongoing work of running a sci fi magazine in the 17th century, and a pair of interns with some real possibility.

David Brin said...

AFR I'd send Johnson some $.

Ioan said...

I wonder how it would be possible to contact such authors? There are a few non-Christian explorations that would parallel the shock of Newtonian physics upon the population of 1632? Namely, a map of the Americas that didn't focus solely on Gold.

David Brin said...

Such explorations have been done. I know some stories have been set ion Mughal India, in Turkey and in Japan, all of them showing the influence of 20th Century technologies.

donzelion said...

@Duncan & Jumper - "I would have said the best evidence of a Saudi "link" was the events of 9-12 [the "Saudi airlift"]."

I saw Fahrenheit 911 too. It wouldn't surprise me if the 9-11 Commission's "secret, non-public" section addressed it to some extent, and that this is why that section was withheld.

Possibility 1: The Saudis plotted the attack, and when it struck, they arranged an escape with acquiescence by the Bush Admin. Those folks wrote that in a secret report, told Congress, and also told Congress about the secret payments by evil Saudis targeting America - which they all withheld because for some reason, after 9-11, politicians failed to imagine a political opportunity to crucify a rival and take power - and instead they agreed to cooperate to help their enemies achieve their goals.

Possibility 2: A rogue Saudi plotted the attack, and immediately after it succeeded, every single U.S. professional in the industry scrambled to activate every resource they had available everywhere globally to track down perpetrators and prepare the response. Since officers and agents couldn't exactly get that information over the phone or by checking emails, they needed to fly out immediately. However, anyone who saw them suddenly appear overseas would guess their mission - compromises the sacred sources and methods. So a bizarre cover story was constructed in a hurry to account for the unusual privacy of certain flights out of America. (Meanwhile, measures were put in place to ensure that if it ever became necessary again, most of that stuff COULD be obtained through electronic means...)

There are many other possibilities. I have no evidence about this one, but our friend Occam once again makes me weigh more towards the second rather than the first.

Paul451 said...

A.F. Rey,
Re: Gary Johnson.

Is there any indication where the 10% is coming from? Disaffected mainstream Republicans, or disaffected Sanderites?

Looking at Clinton's poll numbers versus Trump, it seems to be coming from the Sanders side. Those bodes ill for anyone concerned about Trump.

(Also, to David, "We told you so!")

Ioan,
Re: 71.
"Namely, a map of the Americas"

There's a wide belief that the Americas were devastated by European diseases after Columbus. Some researchers believe that the native population of the Americas rivalled Europe at the time. (Particularly the east coast of North America was supposedly thick with people. Gray with cooking smoke along its entire length, according to early cartographic expeditions. A hundred years later it was described as a nearly empty "wilderness". What they were seeing was a post-Apocalypse abandonment.)

That's meant to be the reason (more than gun-powder) why pre-Columbian Europeans (Norse colonists from Greenland and northern Europeans that fished the Grand Banks) made no headway in settling Nova Scotia/New England (or even exploiting the coast for wood/water/meat/fur), but by the 1600s the land was open for the taking. Pre-Columbian Americas was defended.

Even assuming the landlocked German mercenaries know enough about 17th century ship building to result in Levant/Greek/Roman ships that can safely leave the Mediterranean, it would still take centuries for European diseases to wipe out the American natives, and probably allow resistant populations to regrow well enough before the invaders could reach far inland to prevent post-1600AD-like colonisation by 2-400AD Europeans.

[Safe sea routes to Asia (from the Red Sea to India and China), would probably be more useful.]

----

David,
Re: 71
The "bubbles-in-a-chain" theory would suggest that a post-2000AD community would be dislocated into 2000AD W.Virginia to replace Grantville.

Paul451 said...

From the last thread:

Jumper,
"who's the author who recently has written on how so many metrics worldwide have improved? My memory is not helping and I have a depressed / hypnotized friend who needs some evidence."

Apparently you meant Pinker, but for me that description invoked Hans Rosling.

And speaking of hypnotic, this is his site - http://www.gapminder.org/tools/ - where you can play with different criteria.

Duncan,
Re: Phone GPS.

AFAIK, GPS plays no role in the ability of cellphone handsets to connect to towers.

But if you're thinking it would help for peer-to-peer mesh networks, it probably would. However, as long as your phone is broadcasting a public-ID (such as IMEI), then simple signal strength would serve the same purpose, allowing a smart mesh to shuffle connections around to maximise strength and coverage, and minimise power use. GPS would help them map the network physically, which is probably less processor intensive, thus less power hungry than inferring it from relative signal strengths,

[In the US, "Enhanced 911" laws (E911) required cell networks to report the geo-location for at least 95% of calls to 911. They can use either handset-driven self-location (which in practice is always GPS), or network-driven location (which uses tower triangulation).

The law applies to the carriers, not manufacturers or users, and hence their decision tends to be a network-wide policy. Ie, if the network chooses handset-driven as their method, they will require all handsets to have a GPS chip. In the US, I believe only AT&T is still using tower-triangulation. So non-GPS phones will only be available from AT&T. About 85-90% of handsets in the US apparently already have E911-compatible GPS chips.

No idea if NZ has a similar requirement. Googling around, it looks like the regs only require nearest-tower and billing-address.]

Duncan Cairncross said...

Option 3

The attack was not "planned" but was anticipated - and "desired" - bit like Pearl Harbor

The actual effects were a LOT worse than was anticipated (again like Pearl Harbor)

As soon as the actual effects became clear the first thing that the people who had been quietly hoping for a Casus belli had to do was to ensure that their fellow "non conspirators" were not subjected to the type of questioning that would lead to people putting one and one together

So under the guise of "protecting our innocent allies" the Saudi "enablers" were rapidly shipped overseas

Alfred Differ said...

A few years ago when I was first reading stories set in the 1632 universe, I was sharing the books with a co-worker. We would each buy every other one and then swap because there were so many coming out by supporting authors. It became obvious that Flint was building a farm team system and his fans loved it enough to participate. The entry level authors (many who had never written full stories) would come into the system through the Grantville Gazette community. They had a way of submitting stories for criticism by others in the community and dedicated authors-to-be would earn their way in. I was mostly interested in the social dynamics of the community since it gave another example of online services that were way too costly before the internet era. Cognitive Surplus was finding an outlet and anyone running/supporting a charity needs to learn the techniques. Top Tier novels get to use the 1632/3/4/5/6 year type of titles. Second tier stories show up in the Ring of Fire series, but that doesn’t imply the authors are second tier. It’s more about the stories being too short for the top tier novels. The Grantville Gazette publishes hard-bound books periodically, but the online version is MUCH more frequent. I think of the physical books as the Triple-A team and the online ones as the Double-A and Single-A teams, but they both tend to be short fiction and fact.

Whether one likes the stories (soap operas mostly) or not, the community is an interesting study in emergent markets and their role in training participants. Read some of the early material and you’ll spot the names of beginning authors now working at the top tier novels. Read further and you’ll see Flint’s comments on what the lead author has to do and not do to cope with other people messing about with his child/creation. It’s a joy to witness it unfold.

My friend and I stopped after a couple years because we had explored the ‘fact’ material enough to satisfy our appetites and had no intention of writing stories. Once one has delved into the tech required to reproduce vacuum tube triodes, it begins to become work instead of play. One can learn a lot about the manufacturing of plywood and what that would mean to downtime construction methods, but that left me wanting to work on future tech more instead of past tech. I had a start-up in mind at the time, so my cognitive surplus got absorbed. It was a blast while it lasted, though. You don’t have to be a budding author to benefit from these communities.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul451: From what I've seen most Libertarians are disaffected Republicans. From what I'm hearing in the last few weeks, more of the same is happening. My hearing only covers my California neighbors, though.

Alfred Differ said...

@David: I'm going to have to go back through some of your stories. I now count three with lasers in them where you go deeper into how they work than the easy description of Hot, Bright, and Cuts Through Stuff. It was the laser in Sundiver that got me to buy your next book, but I barely knew the physics I needed. The one in Kiln People was a blast. Swish. Pump. 8)

David Brin said...

AFR alas, the first 1632 book said in a preface that a wasteland replaced Grantville.

Alfred a few of Flint’s choices bug me. He has the Japanese suddenly, upon just hearing rumors about Grantville, the NEXT year start sending expeditions to California. The Dutch would not have hung around in the Caribbean vulnerable to Spanish attack but would have known to shift everything to Capetown. Still, it is a great exercise in consequence and world building.

Donzel while your Possibility #1 may be an exaggeration, number two is jabbering-drooling nonsense. A stunning concoction of horse hockey. Sorry. Bush was protecting "his people."

Jumper said...

What exactly is the ring of fire around the transported zones? Or do I have even that wrong?

My own 9-11 theory is that a whole lot of it came from Atta, the Egyptian. And that a weird desire to kill someone who's already dead led a lot of reason astray.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@David: I'm going to have to go back through some of your stories. I now count three with lasers in them where you go deeper into how they work than the easy description of Hot, Bright, and Cuts Through Stuff. It was the laser in Sundiver that got me to buy your next book, but I barely knew the physics I needed.


I had no idea that dyes were involved.

Ioan said...

Paul,

You forget about the Grand Banks fishery. Something very valuable for an agricultural society like Rome. You're right that Roman ships couldn't travel trans Atlantic long term. However, they could sail to the Canaries. This results in a Roman Ireland, Iceland, and Greenland.

I'm counting on there being no plagues, and the Native Americans being able to resist the Europeans. This trade would expand as Roman sailors gain experience and their own innovations, accelerating the Columbian Exchange.

One of the things Flint makes clear in his books that mercenaries were from all over Europe, even Scotland. Some might come from fishing families, so they know of the compass and the sextant.

locumranch said...


James Gunn, the same Gunn who wrote 'Starbridge' and 'Kampus' ??

I assumed he was dead but, apparently, he merely moved to Kansas.


Best

David Brin said...

Jim Gunn in his eighties has a grip like iron. He'll be co-hosting the worldcon in Kansas City. And welcome back locumranch who can do something other than snarl!

donzelion said...

@A.F. Rey - "it would still take centuries for European diseases to wipe out the American natives, and probably allow resistant populations to regrow well enough before the invaders could reach far inland to prevent post-1600AD-like colonisation by 2-400AD Europeans."

Interesting. I liked Jared Diamond's critique: for all the brutality of conquistadors post-Cortes (who exploited the dispossessed subject peoples under the Aztecs to raise armies), the real story is that the Incas (not quite as mendacious as the Aztecs) were riven by civil wars into a state that made them susceptible to conquest. Those damn bacteria, on his reading, proved far more mendacious than the conquerors (who could have been fought off notwithstanding the advantages of guns and steel).

But perhaps it would take an organization distinct from the proto-democratic Viking norm to do it - a mix of Englightenment capabilities and Romantic convictions.

donzelion said...

@Duncan - by Occam's standard, I'd definitely prefer option #3 to option #1, but even so, the Pearl Harbor analogy is telling. Nobody who buys the "anticipation" theory suggests that Roosevelt was in league with the Japanese (anticipating an attack at some point? sure...probably just like the Lusitania - a cassus belli error by the Germans, who'd after all, done it before).

But many Americans do think that Bush was in league with the Saudis. That's where it gets really odd. They see Bush kissing a Saudi prince, and think it means far more than when Nixon had drinks with Brezhnev, or Reagan with Gorbachev - that these people were actually colluding together.

So under the guise of "protecting our innocent allies" the Saudi "enablers" were rapidly shipped overseas
I find Option 2 more probable. The Bushies didn't really see anyone as "allies" unless they provided tangible evidence of obeisance. France? Bah, that unreliable 'old Europe.' Britain? Well, so long as Blair does what he's asked, OK...that's actually the Carl Schmidt approach (mingled with their Leo Strauss) - 'friends' and 'enemies' take on very particular meanings to that circle.

Tim H. said...

David, thanks for posting the link to "SeventyOne", that was fun, worthy of inclusion into the 1632 story. Another angle for that universe, good seventeenth century minds chewing through a couple of centuries of scientific papers, after all our minds aren't better than the 17th century ones, we have more precedent.

Michael C. Rush said...

A fun SF noir: A Hazard of Losers by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.

A.F. Rey said...

@A.F. Rey - "it would still take centuries for European diseases to wipe out the American natives...

While I would be honored to have made those comments, alas, they are not mine. Those belong to Paul451. (History is not my forte.) Please give credit (and eventual blame) where it is due. :)

Robert said...

David, I'm glad you noticed The Book of Strange New Things. It manages to be 100 pct SF and 100 pct mainstream literary fiction at the same time. He also manages to get what makes normal Christians tick better than almost any author I've seen, especially one from the outside. (I don't think Michael Chabon ever quite managed to bump his SF component up to 100, though he's very good all the same, and openly friendly to our genre) The Magicians is a book that is 100 Fantasy and 100 LitFic simultaneously (and quite good). What I don't see is one that is 100 SF and 100 Fantasy simultaneously, though I'm tempted to put anything with time travel there. Any candidates?

You've made up my mind about Eric Flint; he's going on my library list. And James Gunn's active! Cool! I remember him appearing in some of the Orbit anthologies, way back when I was in high school. Barsk was featured on John Scalzi's site, and looked interesting. That's now going on the library list, too.


Bob Pfeiffer.

A.F. Rey said...

Is there any indication where the 10% is coming from? Disaffected mainstream Republicans, or disaffected Sanderites?

Looking at Clinton's poll numbers versus Trump, it seems to be coming from the Sanders side. Those bodes ill for anyone concerned about Trump.


I haven't seen any polls that address where Gary is getting his support. I'll let you know if I come across anything.

I did read the article from Fox News cited in my link, about their poll. One thing they noted was that about 1 in 10 of Sanderites said they would rather vote for Trump than Clinton. However, it was a small survey (just over 1000 respondents, if I read it right), and they didn't mention if they asked how many Hillarates would rather vote for Trump rather than Sanders. :)

Not to mention it was a Fox survey. (Isn't it odd how polls from organizations with a bias always seem to lean toward that bias? :))

So I would still say that the jury is still out.

A.F. Rey said...

OK, Paul, here's a deeper analysis of the poll numbers from my go-to place, FiveThirtyEight. Looks like Sanders is appealing mainly to Democrat-leaning independents (certainly more so than regular Democrats), but is about the same as Hillary with true independents. Both have about twice the support with true independents as Trump.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/sanders-isnt-doing-well-with-true-independents/

And, as the article concludes:

One could argue that Sanders has greater potential with these true independents than Clinton: Just 63 percent of them had formed an opinion of him, according to the Gallup poll, while 83 percent had done so for Clinton. But it’s also possible that these true independents will turn against him in greater numbers as they learn more about him.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: Yah. The organic laser in Sundiver was neat, but it was the big one that held my attention. I was learning my undergrad physics at the time and was fairly close to a new faculty member that was setting up his lab with a spiffy one watt laser he got second hand on the cheap from a rock band. He was trying to upgrade it and make it research quality. I didn’t understand why they produced coherent light until grad school, but I did learn to respect that seemingly puny one watt of continuous output and all the gear up front that enabled him to work in a variety of wavelengths. My hook into science fiction was the hardware in stories, so I needed an author who knew his physics. 8)

I learned about the Martian atmospheric maser later from a science fact article and tried to imagine stories with it. It turned out to be a useful skill to build if one wants to go into the theory side of physics.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

What I don't see is one that is 100 SF and 100 Fantasy simultaneously, though I'm tempted to put anything with time travel there. Any candidates?


To me, the movie "Time After Time" with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour was a pure fantasy version of time travel. OTOH, H.G. Wells's version (and the George Pal movie of that novel) is pure science fiction. The former treats time travel as one step removed from dreaming, whereas the latter presents the time machine convincingly as a vehicle whose motive force traverses the fourth dimension instead of the other three.

By "100 percent fantasy", I presume you mean "Doesn't seem likely to work ever", but I'm not sure that's the real distinction between the two genres. Warp drive seems to me to be as implausible as time travel, but neither makes "Star Trek" into fantasy.

Alfred Differ said...

@David: I figure Flint’s choice regarding the Japanese came from the cadre of support authors. I remember a short story involving exiles earlier, so that suggests someone had an interest in changing Japanese history. Flint HAS remarked that the fans and other authors seem to like their soap operas, so I chalk it up to them. As for the Dutch, he’s been relying on Spain’s unwillingness to use uptime information for a long time. That seems to be coming to an end in the last few big stories, but late enough for the steamships and updated artillery to make the story interesting again. That strikes me as an author's choice to maintain tension.

Fun if not all that deep. I tend to buy these things in hard-back nowadays because I like the community that emerged and sopped up all that cognitive surplus. It is because of this series that I bothered to learn about the 30 years war and the early, early start of the Enlightenment.

David Brin said...

Silly theory, donzel. The Bush family never once thwarted SA interests, alway, always doing their bidding, especially the betrayal of the Iraqi Shiite Arabs, an act that made zero sense except that it was commanded by the r’oils.

Note, my hypothesis that the inner court r’oils have always aimed at weakening us and becoming caliphs is a what-if, that I put on the table because it is consistent with every single thing and no one else is saying it. But I never claimed that it rises to the level of PROBABLE.

But to deny intense and slavish devotion by the Bush clan as a cadet branch of that family is delusional. And to deny that they have meddled in our affairs… and used Salafist madrassas to generally attack western civilization? Pure denialist looniness.

LarryHart said...

A F Rey:

I did read the article from Fox News cited in my link, about their poll. One thing they noted was that about 1 in 10 of Sanderites said they would rather vote for Trump than Clinton. However, it was a small survey (just over 1000 respondents, if I read it right), and they didn't mention if they asked how many Hillarates would rather vote for Trump rather than Sanders. :)


Many high-profile Republicans who seemed to have burned their bridges with Trump while there were still possible Republican alternatives are now lining up to support him.

Don't you think the same thing will happen on the Democratic side once Hillary has the nomination in hand?

Yes, plenty of Sanders supporters are angry at Hilary right now, and would claim to vote for a Trump-Hitler ticket over her, but are they really any more upset with Hillary than (say) Lindsay Graham or Paul Ryan or even Chris Christie were at Trump not all that long ago?

Not to mention it was a Fox survey.


It goes without saying. :)

(Isn't it odd how polls from organizations with a bias always seem to lean toward that bias? :))


If I recall correctly, in 2012, Mitt Romney's internal polling showed Obama winning, but they refused to believe the results and assumed sampling bias, so they "weighted" the responses under the assumptions that Republicans were underrepresented, and lo and behold, Romney was then ahead.

What could possibly go wrong?

LarryHart said...

This is how today's www.electoral-vote.com interprets the Libertarian thing:


Many Republicans strongly dislike Donald Trump but could never bring themselves to vote for Hillary Clinton. What are they going to do? The Libertarian Party could offer them a real option this year. The ticket will be chosen in Orlando over the Memorial Day weekend, but most likely the presidential nominee will be Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico. His running mate will probably William Weld, a former Republican governor of Massachusetts who won reelection in 1994 by the largest margin in state history. Thus, instead of offering a couple of fringe candidates, as most third parties do, the LP is likely to be offering two mainstream former Republican governors with a total of 14 years' experience running state governments. For mainstream Republicans who cannot stand Trump, this looks like a clear way to send the Republican Party a message.

A Fox News poll taken last week puts the LP candidates at 10%, nearly all of which comes out of Trump's hide. If they actually get 10% of the vote on Election Day, it is virtually inconceivable that Trump could win. The good news for Trump is that third parties always poll better than they actually do on Election Day, and the further out the poll is taken, the better (and less realistic) the result is. Nevertheless, the unique combination of a Republican candidate who is anathema to a sizable chunk of the GOP electorate and an alternative consisting of two mainstream conservative former Republican governors could make a difference. Even if Johnson/Weld got 5% of the actual vote, Trump would be devastated.

No doubt brains are working overtime at Clinton HQ about how to take advantage of this opportunity. All it takes is one deep-pocketed Democratic donor to set up a super PAC and start running ads like this:
Joe: I'm a life-long Republican and I think Trump is a con man but I could never vote for Clinton.
Tom: Yeah, me too. Ever hear of Gary Johnson?
Joe: No.
Tom: He used to be governor of New Mexico, a real solid conservative Republican. He's running as a Libertarian.
Joe: Tell me more!
Tom: His running mate was twice elected governor, too, and is also pretty conservative.
Joe: Are they actually on the ballot or do I have to write them in?
Tom: They are on the ballot in every state.
Joe: You solved my problem. Thank you so much!

The super PAC could be named "Republicans for Johnson" or something like that. It might actually work and there is little Trump could do to stop it if Clinton can find funding. If the LP can get even 5% of the vote in the swing states, Trump has a real problem.

LarryHart said...

Off topic, but I can't help but notice that the calendar this year (at least the part after the leap date) looks the same as 1983, because today is Wednesday May 25, and that was also the date of the Wednesday on which "Return of the Jedi" premiered back then.

Strangely enough, the calendar also mimicks 1977, because this Saturday will be May 28, and that's the date of the Saturday on which I saw the original "Star Wars" back then.

LarryHart said...

@Alfred,

See my comments above on the calendar. At that point, the character from "Hocus Pocus" would have added, "How much longer can I go on being an atheist?"

donzelion said...

@Larry - you gotta wonder if this year, the 3rd parties will start showing up in a meaningful way.

The tactic you're proposing for the Libertarians has been tried many times, but the conventional wisdom is that it doesn't work because once the links are shown, the party fades (and participants who play for a rival team are punished by insiders who stayed loyal).

The claim in 2016 is that "reason's been tossed out the window and folks are pissed." If that's true, then the 3rd party play may actually work.

But my guess has always been that it's just a show. The oligarchs pretend to dislike Trump, but (1) he's one of them, (2) he has gone through bankruptcy himself, so he'll support their own pending claims when their gambles go belly up, (3) his tax plan - like raising taxes on the rich - is a great tool to obscure the actual tax loopholes that save them the most money - and (4) there's political theater in showing a divided party on Day X of the campaign, then pretending it 'came together' on Day Y around an 'exceptional leader.' They definitely dislike Hillary (anything on equal rights for women cuts deep into their bottom line), and are mostly contemptuous of Bernie.

David Brin said...

Larryhart’s pro libertarian advert has another advantage. It synonymizes the LP with conservative, making it less tempting for Bernites. Alas, that cements in the image of libertarianism as a variant on conservatism, which is tragically stupid.

Ah but 2016 is a leap year and 1983 was not..

Paul451 said...

(Not sure why AF Ray is getting blamed for my comments.)

LarryHart,
"Not to mention it was a Fox survey."

Actually there's been at least three separate polls putting GJ at 10%, not just Fox. And the trend goes back to a handful of polls in March, it's just that most polls didn't mention the LP candidate, so suddenly everyone has "discovered" it.

LarryHart (quoting an article):
"A Fox News poll taken last week puts the LP candidates at 10%, nearly all of which comes out of Trump's hide."

This isn't true. The party-affiliation break-down for recent polls suggest that the new support for the LP is coming almost entirely from independents turning away from Clinton and not Republicans turning away from Trump.

Trump pulls a third of Indies, nearly a third are undecided, and the rest are split 50/50 between Clinton and Johnson. Trump is pulling twice the Indies as Clinton.

Meanwhile the non-Indie defectors to the LP are roughly equal Rep/Dem (6 & 7% respectively).

In other words, Clinton is more toxic amongst independents than Trump, and the LP is hurting Clinton hard.

This is not an opportunity for the Clinton campaign. It's an opportunity for Koch&co to do to Clinton exactly what you suggested for Dems, not only in swing states, but any Dem-leaning state with a large Indie population.

I've said I thought Sanders was a better candidate in the major because he'd scoop up more lefties for the down-ticket races, but I assumed that Trump would collapse in a head-to-head with Clinton. Now for the first time, I'm genuinely concerned that Clinton is so toxic she might actually put Trump in the freakin' White House.

Aside,
From the article AF Ray linked to:
"Currently, all the Democratic groups that like Clinton also like Sanders, but the reverse is not true. As my colleague Nate Silver and NBC News's Mark Murray have both pointed out over the past week: Clinton has yet to win over a number of Sanders supporters, but Sanders does very well among most Clinton supporters."

On behalf of Rob H and myself: "We told you so!"


(Written and authorised by Paul451, for the People For Better Betterness, Better.)

Tony Fisk said...

@David, Umm, shouldn't that be 'The Tumbledowns of Cleopatra Abyss'?
Of course, if there's *another* story, about tumbleweeds... (am enjoying 'Insistence of Vision' btw, when I can get hold of the tablet it's stored on)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

@Larry - you gotta wonder if this year, the 3rd parties will start showing up in a meaningful way.

The tactic you're proposing for the Libertarians has been tried many times, but the conventional wisdom is that it doesn't work because once the links are shown, the party fades (and participants who play for a rival team are punished by insiders who stayed loyal).


Just to be clear, that's not my idea, but one I saw on www.electoral-vote.com .

My reason for posting it here was to run it up the CITOKATE flagpole.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Larryhart’s pro libertarian advert has another advantage.


I was quoting. The idea wasn't mine. I quoted it here because I wanted to see if it had legs or not, and I knew this group would weigh in.


It synonymizes the LP with conservative, making it less tempting for Bernites. Alas, that cements in the image of libertarianism as a variant on conservatism, which is tragically stupid.


I don't like that either, but I think the train left the station a long time ago. In my college years, I thought of myself as a libertarian, meaning I thought government should leave people alone except where it was necessary to intervene, such as resolving disputes or balancing conflicting rights. But these days, "libertarian" seems to mean hating on government, full stop. The movement seems to see itself as a variant on conservatism (hence Ron and Rand Paul as Republicans).

As Asimov once wrote "We've known for 400 years that 'oxygen' is a misnomer too, but what are you gonna do?"


Ah but 2016 is a leap year and 1983 was not..


This is "calendar boy" you're messing with here. Read my post again. I specifically pointed out that this year resembles 1983 and 1977 "after the leap date".

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

On behalf of Rob H and myself: "We told you so!"


I'm also afraid of Hillary losing the election, but I'd be just as afraid of Bernie losing it. Right now, we're seeing how intense is the support for each candidate among their supporters, and to some extent, how intense is the opposition to each candidate. Intensity is not what is needed in November. If Trump makes people who already hate Hillary hate her even more, that doesn't really hurt.

That's why I say Hillary's unfavorables are already at their peak, and Bernie's are already at their nadir. If he were the nominee, the Republicans would start launching their attacks to equate Bernie with Stalin and Kim Jung Un. His crazy act isn't helping in that regard either. Bernie would be presented as the proof that Romney was right about Democrats just wanting the government to give them free stuff.

And some of Trump's supporters might sober up before November and realize what they're about to vote for.

Sarah Palin was also kicking butt in the polls in September of 08. Polls this far out don't mean jack. See what Bernie supporters think as November approaches, and "punishing Hillary" means electing Trump. See what happens when Hillary really gets to campaigning against Trump and not against Bernie--with Bernie's support.

As a good liberal, I realize I may be wrong. But for now, I stand by my twin predictions:

+ Hillary Clinton will be our next president.
+ It will become obvious that Donald Trump doesn't really want the office.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: Heh. Okay. As a catch phrase that makes some sense now. I've got something similar I use with my wife when the universe seems to conspire to send us a message. It works as an in-joke, but falls flat if I explain it to anyone who hasn't known me up close for a couple decades. For calendars, though, I'd probably just do a Rain Man thing and point out the approximate frequency on which they have to overlap. 8)

From where I sit, the LP is fairly conservative at least in the fiscal sense. There are a whole lot of them who are quite angry and governmental growth and scope creep into what they deem their personal lives. I've listened to a number of their stories up close and personal and some have legitimate beefs. I suspect that super PAC add would fall apart, though, when someone pointed out the LP is fiscally conservative and socially looney. Just post the content showing the folks who seem to think that pot legalization is the only social issue worth focusing upon right now.

I am skeptical of Paul451's viewpoint regarding Johnson's support base, but rather than pontificate, I'll just show up at the next party meeting and see what they have to say. I'll report back later.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

For calendars, though, I'd probably just do a Rain Man thing and point out the approximate frequency on which they have to overlap. 8)


They have to overlap every 28 years, but there are local echoes much more often.


From where I sit, the LP is fairly conservative at least in the fiscal sense. There are a whole lot of them who are quite angry and governmental growth and scope creep into what they deem their personal lives. I've listened to a number of their stories up close and personal and some have legitimate beefs.


That's why I used to consider myself a libertarian. But to me, the legitimate beefs are against laws which prohibit personal behavior which affects only the person him/herself. I diverge from the faction who thinks their "legitimate beef" is with the government inspecting our food and water quality, or the ones who think that if someone has enough money and wants to bribe politicians with it, that's a perfectly acceptable use of his own money.


I am skeptical of Paul451's viewpoint regarding Johnson's support base, but rather than pontificate, I'll just show up at the next party meeting and see what they have to say. I'll report back later.


I'm interested in your view as well as the others who already weighed in. But in fairness, the question isn't "Which candidate will members of the Libertarian Party support?" It's more "Among likely voters, which major candidate will lose more votes to the Libertarian candidate?" They're not going to know that at the meeting.

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding the Bradbury quote, I got to meet him years ago when he came to talk at one of our conferences. The person who opened for him at the lunch spoke of his science fiction. When he spoke, though, he had to gently correct us. He pointed out that most of his work was fantasy and then he explained why. It was educational. 8)

David Brin said...

Alfred it is not that libertarians are suspicious of government. It is that they are slavishly UNsuspicious of oligarchy, which has destroyed market-competitive freedom far more often than civil servants ever have.

Alfred Differ said...

The local echoes are strong enough that I'll take picture album calendars apart and use months from old years as the current month just because I like the picture. Doing that annoys my autistic son to no end, so I have to restrict where I do it. 8)

The LP meetings I attended are county level events here in California. We have a couple of people who like to play at the State level, thus they are useful sources of information. In terms of people who actually do anything, the party isn't all that big, so I suspect I CAN get someone to talk about who is loosing the most when our candidate wins 'new' support. They will have their campaign target lists for use by the few volunteers at the phone bank, so I'm sure they will try to optimize their effort and that means learning what concerns Paul451. We shall see.

The strongest beef story I recall involved one friend's experience with the judicial system. She felt the Court had no business in her affairs, but had the authority because legislation was written creating it in those matters. I think she could have handled her battle better than she did, but without a lot more money than she has, there was no way she was going to get the legal advise she needed to know that. See the connection? To her it looked like a racket for lawyers with the Court being used for their ends. To her, the Libertarian solution involves a radical reduction in governmental scope to reduce the harm being done. It's a Conflict of Interest problem for her.

I don't run into the immoral ones you describe very often. Making bribery acceptable is simply a stupid idea. The consensus around here is that it is immoral. Making it legal is like legalizing Evil. It ain't gonna happen. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@David: I hear you, but my personal experience with my county level friends is that they are MORE suspicious of government than oligarchy. I'll see if I can get a nose-count next time of the Randians, but from memory it was less than 10%. Those of us who weren't just eye-rolled when they pontificated... and then asked them to donate to support the party. Heh. For some reason they never seem to do that.

When I joined up, they put a little card in front of me that suggested a purity/litmus test. I read it from top to bottom and pointed out that I didn't agree with some of the stuff on it. For example, I think there are good reasons to create a national ID system, but I don't want the government in charge of it. That mystified them. In their confusion, I started quoting stuff from your Transparency book. THAT got me a few concerned looks. In the end, though, they were happy to have me and the money I was willing to donate. It turns out that I was close enough and the people who actually did anything beyond hand out the card were pragmatic. I learned later that our little group had an anti-Rand mission within the party because, for some odd reason, they actually WANTED to win elections. 8)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I'll see if I can get a nose-count next time of the Randians, but from memory it was less than 10%. Those of us who weren't just eye-rolled when they pontificated... and then asked them to donate to support the party. Heh. For some reason they never seem to do that.


You might as well have asked them to live their lives for the sake of others. :)

Robert said...

Dr. Brin, while your story 71 is fascinating with the thought of a German city ending up at 71 A.D. I must admit it creates an even more fascinating concept.

What replaced Grantville in the United States?

What if it were a city from the future?

And what if that city emerged from the future and caused a knock-off effect of communities through time... because of a defense protecting the city from attacks (say some form of quantum shielding) that malfunctioned or was overloaded... causing the city to ripple backward in time?

Might it be interesting telling the story of a city from the 22nd or 23rd century that appears in the United States? And even more interesting is if it's not an American city?

How would the United States react to an advanced technology city with technologies that make U.S. war technology seem obsolete appearing in our midst? Especially if that city... were foreign and refused to accept the United States as its ruler?

Rob H.

Jumper said...

David wrote his, so you write that one.
Or maybe WE can do it here.
Write what you know, though... so where does it come from?

Jumper said...

If we wanted to be clowns, it would be Nantucket.

Alfred Differ said...

@Rob H: Flint covered what happened in that uptime region of West Virginia in the first book. It's all near the front of the book. As science fiction for the downtime authors to contemplate, it would be interesting though.

I suspect any uptime people who landed here wouldn't refer to the event as a Ring of Fire, though. It's obviously a form of a singularity. They'd probably have a good name for it even if no research university came though the event.

I also suspect that any city from the 22nd century is going to be VERY familiar with US political and philosophical systems, the biases, and the trends. They might skewer us for our climate change stance, but I doubt it would be in a way that makes sense to climate change opponents today. OF COURSE one should learn the basics of geo-engineering! You all KNEW your population was heading for 10-11 billion with the expectation that they would live a bourgeois life! OF COURSE you are going to have to manage the planet! 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: Tweaking the Randians is kinda fun. My inner Troll emerges for a feast.

Robert said...

Let's fire that ball into left field.

Africa.

Because let's face it. Everyone would expect Asia. Probably China at that. But if Africa became a world power over the next couple hundred years with advanced technologies... though come to think of it, Marvel Comics already did that with Wakanda.

Hmm...

Antarctica? After 200 years of global warming and climate change, you could have cities cropping up on the formerly ice-covered continent, though it would still be harsh living conditions.

Of course, you could also have it be from a part of America in which the United States broke apart, and this one is from one of the breakaway communities that may in fact be hostile to the "Core" America. That would cause all the Faux News American-Hating Crowd gobbling it up as they line up for Grey Vs. Blue with the Greys having the advantage...

And it seems... as cliched to make it Russian as it is to have it be Asian.

Maybe a South American city?

Or Australia from the future. The war was against the Theocracy of North American States after the ultra-religious crowd gained control of the U.S. so Australia ended up enemies with the former U.S.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Let's fire that ball into left field.

Africa.

Because let's face it. Everyone would expect Asia. Probably China at that. But if Africa became a world power over the next couple hundred years with advanced technologies... though come to think of it, Marvel Comics already did that with Wakanda.

Hmm...


Well, why not go all the way and have a city from the era of "Star Trek" show up in 20th Century earth?

Robert said...

Because Star Trek as a society is boring. (It's a shame they never made any films after Nemesis but I suppose there's only so far they can take the genre... *winks*)

Star Trek would be trying to maintain a temporal prime directive and all that and working to undo whatever sent them back in time to set things right. In fact... they kind of did that in the original series, only with a starship instead of a city.

Having a city that looks at the United States as a potentially hostile power rather than a child that has to be protected from the future is part of what drives the story.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

@Robert,

Ok, then have a city of the Morlocks show up.

Tim H. said...

Go further than the 23rd century, bring in a city from the "Schlock Mercenary" universe, with annie plants, synthesized food production and a bewildering variety of sophonts.

Robert said...

That would make for a fascinating horror story. And it also begs the question: is the transfer spherical? Or only surface structures?

I can't help but think if a simple time traveller with a pistol was able to escape the Morlocks, that a couple battalions of U.S. soldiers would be able to wipe out the Morlocks. Especially once it's learned that the passive peaceful inhabitants on the surface are eaten. At that point we'd say "fuck the Geneva Conventions" and use nerve gas to wipe out the entire nest of Morlocks.

Rob H.

Robert said...

As for the inhabitants of an Earth city from the Schlock Mercenary universe... it would be primarily political as the government and AIs would quickly realize the massive advantage that they just gained. "Uplift" society across the Earth, get humanity off-planet, and possibly quietly use the terraport to colonize a couple dozen worlds.

Rob H.

Treebeard said...

I'm going to reveal the secret of democratic politics, which explains the outcomes of every presidential election in my lifetime, and probably long before. Ready? Here it is:

The candidate with the most “sexual mojo” wins.

That's it. The candidate who is best able to work crowds into a sexual frenzy rolls to victory. It doesn't matter about his ideology, policies, or other egghead stuff. People just want a leader who turns them on. I call this the “Tantric theory” of politics. If it holds, Trump should win easily come November, because let's face, Hillary gets people about as turned on as, shall we say, an old hag, and Trump rallies have the sexual energy of rock concerts.

You heard it here first.

Robert said...

Been sniffing the glue again, I see...

Tony Fisk said...

You wanted sex with Richard Nixon?
(Anyway, just wait till Hillary snaps on her 'Red Priestess' necklace ;-)

Paul451 said...

So Treebeard is sexually aroused by The Donald?

I'm not surprised, I'm just surprised that he admits it.

Paul451 said...

Rob H,
Re: 71
"What replaced Grantville in the United States?
What if it were a city from the future?"


Heh, I said the same thing. The 1632 intro makes it pretty clear is was a straight-swap, a burnt out farm and murdered family from 17th century central Europe ending up where Grantville used to be.

"And what if that city emerged from the future and caused a knock-off effect of communities through time... because of a defense protecting the city from attacks (say some form of quantum shielding) that malfunctioned or was overloaded... causing the city to ripple backward in time?"

That's clever though. But it doesn't have to be the next-one-up-from-us that caused the ripple. It may have been a city several ripples up that caused the tear. Or hundreds of ripples, deep distant future.

"Star Trek would be trying to maintain a temporal prime directive and all that and working to undo whatever sent them back in time to set things right."

And then there's NuTrek.

Paul451 said...


Rob H,
Re: 71 (or rather "2000")
"How would the United States react to an advanced technology city with technologies that make U.S. war technology seem obsolete appearing in our midst? Especially if that city... were foreign and refused to accept the United States as its ruler?"

Even an American city might not accept contemporary rule ("Oh shtak, is this when Trump ran for President? No. Hell no. You guys are bugnuts.") Something similar in John Birmingham's Axis Of Time series. (A multi-national taskforce, including the aircraft carrier USS Hillary Clinton, heh, is thrown from 2021 back to 1942, landing in the middle of the Battle of Midway. Most ships do accept loyalty to their respective nations, but grudgingly and with conditions, while secretly working to accelerate change.)

Grantville landed in the middle of the 30yr war, during a particularly nasty period. In 71, David had Milda dropping into a similar era in Roman Palestine. So if, instead of 2000, Eric had set the original story after Sept 11, 2001, then the obvious city to drop in the middle of that country would be future Mecca or Jerusalem.

Alternatively, an alien refuge on future Earth. Technologically advanced by our standards; poor, frightened, deprived slum-dwellers by the standards of the time they left.

Alternatively alternatively, an Earth-side military base of the aliens who wiped out/enslaved all humans, after humans started a war against their peaceful civilisation soon after inventing the FTL/wormhole drive. (Emerging after several days from the buried wing of the base that had been torn from the rest, finding themselves amidst a cordon of W.Virginia police and a scattering of National Guardsmen, there to keep the crowds of gawkers out of the way of the researchers who were being brought in. The two groups of armed sophonts, both facing a situation they didn't understand, shouting at each other to "Stop, lower your weapons" in mutually incomprehensible languages. Then the inevitable first panic shot, the bullet vaporised mid-air by a barely visible beam. Followed by more shooting, each bullet neatly removed before reaching a target. Then the thin beams reaching forward to each of the officers who dared to fire. ....)

Paul451 said...

Alfred Differ,
"I am skeptical of Paul451's viewpoint regarding Johnson's support base"

I'm just reporting the numbers. While it seems "obvious" that extra support for Johnson must be drawing away from Trump, the actual results suggest he's polling equally amongst Republicans and Democrats. His gains are coming from Clinton losing Independents.

http://media.hotair.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/mc.jpg

Note that amongst Independents, Trump is polling twice as well as Clinton, and Clinton and Johnson are virtually level.

LarryHart,
"That's why I say Hillary's unfavorables are already at their peak"

Except her unfavorables have gone up another 5% since the last time you said that. Up 15% since you began saying it.

In 2014, you would have been right. Her polling had plateaued for a long time, 50% liked her, 40% hated her; solid as a rock. Since the start of 2015 though, her numbers have fallen off a cliff. And, judging by recent polls, the trend is actually accelerating.

Worse, her around 80% of her negatives are "strongly dislike", while over half of her favourables are "slightly like". In other words, it's not typical "divisive candidate", strongly for vs strongly against, it's strongly against and weakly for. That's kind of pattern will only slip in one direction: Against.

"we're seeing how intense is the support for each candidate among their supporters, and to some extent, how intense is the opposition to each candidate."

As I said, every group that Clinton polls well with, also likes Sanders and hence would happily support him if he won the nomination. But every group that Sanders polls well with, dislikes Clinton. And while most will hold their nose and vote for her anyway, it looks like there really are enough who won't to swing the election.

Please stop falling into the media trap of "both sides are the same". They aren't. Clinton is loathed by more than half the population. Sanders is not.

"If Trump makes people who already hate Hillary hate her even more, that doesn't really hurt."

I know that's what you believe, but that poll break-down suggests it's not true. The more toxic Clinton becomes, the more independents flock to either Trump or a third party.

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"It will become obvious that Donald Trump doesn't really want the office."

I'm not sure why you believe this. Trump is a narcissistic conman. He's having the time of his life. He's about to take the biggest "mark" ever, the entire United States. His whole life has been training for this moment.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

"It will become obvious that Donald Trump doesn't really want the office."

I'm not sure why you believe this. Trump is a narcissistic conman. He's having the time of his life. He's about to take the biggest "mark" ever, the entire United States. His whole life has been training for this moment.


The campaign, yes. But I don't think he wants to be president afterwards.

Too much work.

The joke got out of hand, and he's not going to break character, especially when he's winning. But what will he do once the metaphorical dog catches the car?

Tim H. said...

Anoint it.

Robert said...

The irony is that superdelegates exist for just this purpose - to determine if a candidate is too damaged to win the Presidency.

If Trump starts polling better and better against Clinton, the superdelegates could very well turn against the will of the majority of Democratic voters and choose Sanders as their candidate.

Now if Trump were smart, and for all of Trump's failings I don't think a deficiency of intelligence is one of them, he'll be preparing for this possibility so it doesn't blindside him. All of his guns are targeting Clinton right now. That doesn't mean they don't have some nasty attacks to use on Sanders to try and make the youth voters look at him and go "oh. He's just like Clinton" and not vote.

Do note. I'm voting Libertarian. So I'm not actually pro-Sanders. He's got some significant and potentially unpleasant flaws that could cripple a run for Presidency if an unscrupulous individual who has no qualms at all of alienating part of the voter base goes for them. That I am more anti-Clinton is just because of my personal feelings on Clinton.

--------

There is an important question here to consider. When you look at why there are flips in the presiding political party for the Presidency, you can't just look at the party. You also need to look at other factors. Now, we flipped from Bush to Obama because the economy crashed big and because of the wars Republicans were pushing ended up not being these beautiful clean affairs they claimed they would be. So there are economic and social reasons for the flip.

When we look at post-Clinton, we see a conservative Supreme Court and voter fraud in Florida working together to strip a victory from Gore and giving it to Bush. Don't forget: Gore won the popular vote by a couple hundred thousand voters.

When we look at why Bush Sr. lost to Clinton, we see an unemployment rate near 8%, poverty around 14%, NAFTA, and a mild recession. Bush also alienated a number of Republicans by raising taxes and working with Democrats.

When we look at Carter, we have the whole stagflation thing and Iran holding a bunch of our people hostage.

When we look at Ford, we have lingering anger over his pardoning Clinton.

When we look at Johnson, we have the Vietnam War and Civil Rights legislation.

Eisenhower... well, that's more a case of technological innovations disrupting things. Nixon did not do well against Kennedy on televised debates... but did well with radio debates. So this one could be a matter of a charismatic leader using new technology to gain control.

--------

When you look at each time the Presidency changes parties, you see factors that don't exist right now. The economy is doing fairly well, and even non-executives are starting seeing some of those profits finally in terms of pay raises and the like. There is a sentiment of the rich getting too big a portion and that drives the Sanders and Trump campaigns... but when it comes to actual factors that change who controls the Presidency? It's not there.

So then... why is Clinton doing poorly? It's not because she's running against Sanders... or not JUST that. Instead, it goes deeper. It lies with the fact she is no Bill Clinton. She lacks his charisma. She lacks that connect with people. She is running on her name rather than on a foundation she built for herself wholly on her own. And there are cracks in that pre-existing foundation she built from.

Clinton will draw out Republican voters who will vote against her no matter what. She also is tamping down the vote of Democrats and Independents who look at her, look at Trump, figure Trump is a blowhard that will alienate Republicans and get nothing done, and honestly don't want to vote for her.

There is no desire to vote Clinton. And voting against Trump isn't quite the motivation that voting against Cruz would have been.

Rob H.

locumranch said...



Sexual Market Value (SMV) is only part of a rather gendered political equation that has the US polity desirous of either a Mother or Father figure:

The polity concerns itself with an open-fair-level playing field (social equality) & seeks maternal nuturing when circumstances are thought flush, agreeable, safe & good,; however, the very same polity concerns itself with strength (virtu) & seeks paternal decisiveness when circumstances are thought threatening, unsafe, unstable & bad.

Social policy, abilities & corruptions are often immaterial. As exemplified by Brazil, Venezuela, the Philippines & the Southern Hemisphere in general, flush times give us feminised touchy-feely leaders & tough times give us arrogant hyper-masculinised dictators.

Many things in the US presidential race can still happen (including a Trump and/or Sanders independent run) but, assuming an unopposed Trump v. Clinton ticket, unstable circumstances will determine the outcome rather than high-minded social policy.

Therefore, we can expect the US polity (like the women under 30 demographic) to demand Trump's paternal protection IF the global economy worsens, the Middle East conflict spreads & the EU collapses further into French unrest, Brexit & migrant crisis.

Likewise, we can expect Clinton to win if the EU holds things together, the IMF remains solvent, the migrant crisis abates, global conflicts diminish, the US economy improves & optimism predominates.


Best

matthew said...

I agree that Trump will beat Clinton vis a vis his strength with Independents. I think that his recent trip to Albuquerque is a preview of how he will manage the trick - right before the General Election he will do rallies in a bunch of Hispanic-dominated cities. He will continue his narrative that Mexicans are all rapists and drug dealers. Continue to urge his audiences to "take America back" and a winking nod to violence against those that disagree. Get very large crowds of protesters waving Mexican flags and throwing rocks at cops. Reap the Independent (white, middle-aged and older) vote for the overwhelming win.

His combination of authoritarianism, racism, and know-nothingness is a modern echo of Reagan, who used the same themes and tropes. Trump is playing to the cameras - and nothing motivates like fear. His rallies in Hispanic-dominated markets are designed to increase fear in older whites.

He is using rope-a-dope. It's going to work spectacularly well for him.


Robert said...

Larry,

I actually count most time travel as SF. For me, whether a time travel story counts as SF or fantasy depends on the tone. As for warp drives, since a certain patent clerk published a paper in 1905, FTL automatically counts as time travel. One thing I liked about Just Visiting, otherwise not that good a movie, was that the characters were sent into the present by a mediaeval wizard. My reaction was - "Good! They realize time travel is fantasy!" On the other hand, Primer and Predestination, recognized by David a couple of posts back, are obviously SF, and superb SF at that.

The LP ticket is a pre-takeover Republican's dream ticket. I'd love to vote for them, but stopping Trump is so important that I'll vote for Hillary. Since 2000 the Republicans have been so bad I've actually voted for Democrats, which would make my grandparents spin in their graves - all four voted against Roosevelt all four times.


Bob Pfeiffer.

Robert said...

I've been thinking about how the Libertarian Party has been twisted into an anti-government pro-business party, and how it might be necessary to start from the ground up in developing a workable variant. And as many of you have seen me write in the past, a "Social Libertarian" party would probably be a good thing. But what form would it take?

Let's consider the core platform of a SL Party: Personal Liberty. Let's face it, most of us don't like government intruding in our personal lives. But of course there are drawbacks to this. Exceptions which must be made.

So. Personal Liberties. This includes Religious Freedom in that you are allowed to state "My religion doesn't allow me to do that" but you CANNOT state "My religion doesn't allow YOU to do that."

Does Personal Liberty include your children? Do you have the right to state "I do not believe in Western Medicine so I'm not vaccinating my children or getting vaccines myself!" or does the State in this case have the obligation to step in and say "you have personal liberties, but public health is an overriding concern and your children WILL be vaccinated."

I mean, Personal Liberty ends when your fist hits my nose. Or when your germs make me sick. So yes, I could see that a SL platform still requires childhood vaccinations.

Now, what about religion? Does Personal Liberty mean you can keep your children out of school and teach them only what you want them to know? Might this be considered child abuse if you are teaching them a strict religious line that is anti-science and anti-society?

How do we define what is allowed for education? Or for home-schooling? Perhaps some core elements of education: ability to read and write at a specific level, do mathematics at a specific level, have a basic knowledge of American history... but do we require science knowledge? It will hurt the child not to know science but is forcing a parent to teach that impacting on their Personal Liberty? At what point does public and social desires override the right of parents to decide what their child will know?

Naturally, Personal Liberty would include the right to drink alcoholic beverages, the right to use drugs... but public safety also is important. So how do we balance public safety with Personal Liberty when it comes to the use of these substances? Do we need to do added scientific testing of various drugs to determine how long it takes people of set weights and body types to be safe for operating a car or other equipment when under the influence of a substance? (Who pays for this research?)

At what point does Personal Liberty get tied down by Business regulation? Someone can personally be anti-LGBT. But if they refuse to do business with someone because they are gay? Then that becomes a deal.

Naturally this brings about a counter with businesses able to state "we have decided we don't want to do business with you. No, we won't tell you why." If businesses keep their reasons private, then they aren't discriminating. So obviously cake bakers who are anti-LGBT should shrug, say "I don't think we can handle this order." Sometimes I think business owners who refuse to work with X groups try to use their business as a sociopolitical weapon. "Homosexuality is a sin and you get no cake for your vile anti-wedding!" Yeah, that's not kosher. Just saying "we can't do this" without a reason? That shouldn't cause discrimination lawsuits.

It means the political power of a business is lesser than that of the individual. But should that not be the case in any event? The business owner can be anti-whatever. The business itself should remain neutral, even when refusing business.

What other areas do you feel Personal Liberty should focus on? And how do we develop this into a political platform? What are your thoughts and opinions? What flaws do you see, and how could they be overcome? What areas need strengthening? Discuss :)

Rob H.

Marino said...

I'm a great fan of 1632 (both for my politics and because I loved also its model, Stirling's Island in the sea of time), and I've read the story by David on Baen.

It reminded me a lot the story arc of Alvin the hoonish teenager in the second Uplift trilogy.
He frames his exploration in the Midden using tropes from human sci-fi, up to and including a joke about a "broken infinitive" that only someone acquainted with Star Trek ("to boldly go...") could have done.
In both stories a character frames his experience and worldview thru a (literally for Alvin) alien culture and literary form. Does David realize that this is exactly the postmodern and even postocolonial theory of literature he loves to hate :-) ?
After all, using an alien culture to frame and express your own life experience is the root of postcolonial literay theory. A 17. century German person attempting to use a literary medium worked out by mostly American TwenCen culture, and the story is set within the framework of... a sci fi shared universe belonging to that culture. Is so recursive that it hurts, poor late Umberto Eco would have been very amused.
Now I suppose everyone craves for a sequel...

And I agree on mr. Differ, the Ring of Fire shared universe is a very interesting example of cooperative creative work (S.M. Stirling's discussion list where I was active worked more or less the same but lacked the scope of "farming" more and more novels and stories set in a shared universe)


donzelion said...

@Larry - as a die-hard critic (with a liberal sensibility), I'll share your predictions:

(1) Prediction: Hillary Clinton will be our next president.
(2) Dems (barely) take the Senate in 2016 (50-50, with VP as tie-breaker). Reps take it back in 2020.
(3) Dems appoint 3 justices to the Supreme Court - successors to Scalia, Ginsburg, and Kennedy. Ginsburg holds on just until the point that the first female president can name her successor. Who turns out to be quite level-headed process-oriented left leaning centrist (like Kagan & Sotomayor).

Fantasy 1: Donald Trump goes bankrupt again. In 4 years, people ask, "Gee, what did anyone ever see in that guy way back in the day?" He pitches a new reality TV show, gets an offer from Lifetime TV, but it gets cancelled after a season.

Fantasy 2: In 2020, Evangelicals unite behind a gay abortion doctor who operates brothels and pees on crosses publicly for fun, and who pledges to take their guns away - but whose assets include a trophy wife and a pledge to continue hating Hillary until the election cycle is over. They like him because he's honest, strong, and looks tough. Then they shoot him, and the office reverts to...

donzelion said...

Robert - "When we look at why Bush Sr. lost to Clinton, we see an unemployment rate near 8%, poverty around 14%, NAFTA, and a mild recession. Bush also alienated a number of Republicans by raising taxes and working with Democrats."

That's what you see. I see Ross Perot doing to Bush Sr. what Teddy Roosevelt did to Taft: getting a Democrat elected. Many pundits assert that Perot took equally from both Clinton and Bush Sr. - but I find their analysis unpersuasive (and who is it that pays the pundits, but parties that prefer 3rd parties be left in the wilderness). Bush Sr. was an early victim of what has metastasized into the "Tea Party" - they liked Perot not because of what he believed, but because he wasn't Bush.

donzelion said...

@Rob H - "why is Clinton doing poorly? ... It lies with the fact she is no Bill Clinton. She lacks his charisma."

Nailed it.

Bill Bradley proposed in the aftermath of the 2004 election that the way a Democrat can win the presidency is by utilizing substantial personal charisma to unite the discordant factions within the Dems. I'm not sure that's the only way, but he was right and there's a reason the Dem leadership embraced Obama in '08.

Republican youths want jobs & money from Republican elders - they know to fall into line This year, they're a little confused where the line is, but once it's pointed out, they'll quickly follow it.

Democrat youths want a career, a life, and a good community - they know Democrat elders won't "give" that to them, any more than a university degree gives it to them. They see a long line of hurdles, and no promise that the next hurdle will finally lead them to their place in the world. Charisma can help motivate the disaffected, but Hillary is emphatically not a cheerleader. (Neither is Bernie, not really, but his message fixates on those hurdles, and how to lower them a bit.)

donzelion said...

@Robert -"Personal Liberties. This includes Religious Freedom in that you are allowed to state "My religion doesn't allow me to do that" but you CANNOT state "My religion doesn't allow YOU to do that."

It gets really difficult to maintain the distinction when we're talking about DUTIES as opposed to liberties. We're surrounded by duties all the time - some we create, some are imposed upon us - which make liberty a tricky matter when there's a lot of interactions.

Can you force a caterer to bake a cake for a homosexual marriage?

If a caterer contracts to provide that cake, then discovers the marriage is a homosexual union, can they void that contract as a result of "personal religious beliefs"?

If they want to avoid entering into that sort of contract, can they change their catering order forms to include a disclaimer that requires cake buyers to affirm, "I am not a homosexual and I am not doing anything that offends your religious beliefs, and if I do, this order is void"?

Gets even murkier with rental agreements, and many other sorts of agreements. And so it goes with all liberty - once liberties interact, in a world of duties, privileges, and rights.

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

I was reading your first comment with it ending with "Then they shoot him, and the office reverts to..."

Next post.

Robert - "..."

And I'm "Noooooooooooooooo! I'd make a SHITTY President! I don't want it! No!"

I honestly feel I'd be a worse President than the Shrug was. While I'd do plenty of research to do the right thing and recruit the best advisors (Dr. Brin, would you be willing to be Secretary of State in a Howard Presidency?) I honestly don't think I would handle the stress of the job. Not to mention I'd walk into a session of Congress unannounced and tell them they are, all of them, on both sides, a bunch of fucking assholes who need to stop grandstanding and pull their heads out of their asses before they ruin the country forever.

It needs to be said, but it would get me impeached and thrown out of office in very short order.

----------

The wise order contract would include the clause "the vendor may cancel the order if they feel they cannot fulfill the order to the satisfaction of the customer."

And honestly, these Holier-Than-Thou cake bakers and other vendors could be doing worse than beating their drums. They could TAKE those orders and then make a substandard, downright lousy cake that has too much salt or something, and then claim "must have been an accident. We'll refund part of the charge..." while having ruined that wedding.

It's a good thing I am not involved in these sorts of things. I honestly can think of a dozen different ways how to "passive-aggressively" screw things over in those situations.

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Now if Trump were smart, and for all of Trump's failings I don't think a deficiency of intelligence is one of them, he'll be preparing for this possibility so it doesn't blindside him. All of his guns are targeting Clinton right now. That doesn't mean they don't have some nasty attacks to use on Sanders to try and make the youth voters look at him and go "oh. He's just like Clinton" and not vote.


Remember in '08 when Hillary was the presumptive Democratic nominee? And the right-wing talking machine kept saying she was "the most liberal Senator ever"--which had also been their characterization of Kerry four years earlier? Until Obama became the nominee instead, and then magically, he was "the most liberal Senator ever?"

Currently, that would be a hard attack to level at Hillary-2016, as the whole reason her base is dissatisfied with her is that she's not liberal enough. But if Sanders became the nominee instead? Not only "the most liberal Senator ever", but a freakin' socialist.

The cool, high ground-taking, issues-oriented Bernie of a few months back might have withstood those sorts of attacks. The hysterical screeching old man who thinks the Democratic Party is rigged because he doesn't win? I'm not sure.

Mind you, if the party apparatus really did decide that Bernie was the better candidate, I'd vote for him. I voted for him in the primary. But I don't think that will happen, and I'm not grieving that it won't happen.

And I'm more concerned with the Senate than I am with who wins the presidency. The president all by him/herself, even Bernie, can't implement Bernie's agenda on his own. We need majorities in the Senate and the House, plus at least one new member of the Supreme Court. For that, we need a strong Democratic Party. Bernie screeching to his followers that Hillary is the Devil and no different from Dick Cheney? Doesn't help the cause.

LarryHart said...

matthew:

I agree that Trump will beat Clinton vis a vis his strength with Independents. I think that his recent trip to Albuquerque is a preview of how he will manage the trick - right before the General Election he will do rallies in a bunch of Hispanic-dominated cities. He will continue his narrative that Mexicans are all rapists and drug dealers


Are you being sarcastic? Or do you think women and minorities don't vote?


He is using rope-a-dope. It's going to work spectacularly well for him.


It's doing well for him among his base. We'll have to see how well the virus can spread to the general electorate.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "Many pundits assert that Perot took equally from both Clinton and Bush Sr"

It's not that Perrot voters where evenly split between potential democratic and republican party voters: it's that

1: Perot caused the turnout to be 3% higher than it would have been without his candidacy: that means approximately 3 millions of his voters would not have bothered to show up to the polling stations at all if he had not run.
2. Over one third of his voters had voted for Dukakis.

So, you get 3 million people who wouldn't have voted at all, 7 million who had voted for Dukakis four years prior, and 10 million remaining republican-leaning voters. Assuming all the democratic and republican voters had voted for their "natural candidate" instead of Perot, Clinton would have won the popular vote with 52 million ballots to Elder Bush's 49 million. The only way for Bush Sr to win would have been for him to enjoy a massive advantage in either voters enthusiasm or discipline over Clinton, something that wouldn't happen in an election where he was the not-very-popular incumbent: to be blunt, those who claim that Bush Sr would have won if only Perot hadn't run are indulging in little more than mental masturbation.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Democrat youths want a career, a life, and a good community - they know Democrat elders won't "give" that to them, any more than a university degree gives it to them. They see a long line of hurdles, and no promise that the next hurdle will finally lead them to their place in the world. Charisma can help motivate the disaffected, but Hillary is emphatically not a cheerleader. (Neither is Bernie, not really, but his message fixates on those hurdles, and how to lower them a bit.)


Y'know, I think Bernie would have more delegates if he spent more campaign time explaining how he would implement his agenda than just saying what his values are.

Bernie is popular among those who see him as someone who argues for the things they want, but much of what he promises to fight for seems pie in the sky to me, and unless he convinces me that there is a path to his agenda, I think a Bernie presidency might disappoint in the same way an Obama presidency did.

donzelion said...

OK, enough Trump for the month. What about Thiel? Essentially, Peter Thiel, Silicon Valley billionaire, financed a litigation campaign against Gawker media in the Hulk Hogan sextape scandal to deter them from targeting him and his people in the future. Looks like that may have worked, as the gossipmonger shuttered its Silicon Valley coverage.

So here's the thing: what exactly does that mean for sousveillance?

Stories published by Gawker have been "very painful and paralyzing for people who were targeted," including friends of his, he said. "I thought it was worth fighting back." http://money.cnn.com/2016/05/26/media/peter-thiel-hulk-hogan-gawker/

Fair point. One would expect that billionaires will feel significant personal pain when they are themselves the subject of spotlights. But the other side to the story is also compelling: isn't the whole point of sousveillance that the spotlight goes both ways?

locumranch said...



Like Rob_H, I was also raised on the dyslexic trope that "(Your) Personal Liberty ends when your fist hits my nose", but now I see that this trope suffers from a reversed Subject-Verb-Object (SVO) order because (in truth) it is my personal liberty that ends when your fist impacts my nose.

Why is this trope's SVO order important?

In its original reversed form, personal liberty appears as a PASSIVE conceit as it is up to the other (you & "your fist") to restrain yourself & protect my liberty (and my nose).

For those who know better, however, personal liberty must always be an ACTIVE process because (under MAD principles) it is my swinging fist that protects my nose & ends your personal liberties when your fist infringes on me & mine.

It is MY fist, not yours, that protects my personal liberties; hence the Golden Rule; hence the 2nd Amendment; and, it is this truth that Trump understands & demonstrates, but not Hillary.


Best

LarryHart said...

@locumranch

You're deliberately conflating aggression and defense. Or conflating the starting of a fight with returning fire.

By your "logic", Pearl Harbor was the fault of the US for having a naval base that happened to be under the bombs that the Japanese exercised their right to drop.

Your right to swing your fist ends at my nose. Unless my fist has impacted your nose first, in which case the metaphorical gloves are off. Everyone over the age of six knows the difference. Well, mostly everyone.


Robert said...

People keep stating they have been disappointed with the Obama Presidency.

Here is a question: why are you disappointed in it?

Obama has been stymied by constant opposition from the Republican Party. Despite that, he did manage to push through a number of small measures. Things ARE better under Obama even if we didn't have any huge spectacular successes that can be directly attributed to him. Well, other than a treaty to limit nuclear weapons. ;)

Here's 50 things that Obama has done though I'm not sure if all of chorse could be considered positives. This article goes into further depth and is probably a good read to understand what he's accomplished. And unlike some politicians he doesn't beat his drum constantly with each success. He moves on to the next problem.

So. Obama has disappointed by doing a damn difficult job with lots of opponents and succeeding despite the obstacles. And of course he disappoints because Republicans insist he's done a horrible job and theirs are the words we hear rather than seeing what is going on.

Rob H.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "OK, enough Trump for the month. What about Thiel?"

Gawker is now trying to portray itself as the victim, claiming that Thiel wasn't going after Gawker for outing him as gay to the plebs, but because some of their articles portrayed him as less than the hyper-competent whizkid he claims to be and exposed his fascistic fantasies to the hoi polloi.

A lot of it is self-serving spin, obviously, but I wouldn't dismiss the Thiel's vendetta is in part motivated by anger at tabloids not acting like lickspittle easily drafted in his PR department and discreetly sweeping under the carpet his hard-on for feudal parasitism.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

People keep stating they have been disappointed with the Obama Presidency.

Here is a question: why are you disappointed in it?


First of all, though my wording may well have been ambiguous, I didn't mean that I personally am disappointed in Obama (well, except for TPP). I mean that there was so much expectation that came with his election that the reality of governing, even the parts that weren't his fault, was dispiriting enough that Democrats pretty much stayed home on election day 2010. That led to disaster, not only in the House, but in many state governments which promptly gerrymandered their districts to lock in Republican victories for a decade. We have to reverse that in 2020 after the next census, and I'd hate to see the same sort of thing follow a Bernie presidency that could face the same opposition Obama did.

donzelion said...

@Laurent - much as I enjoy mental masturbation, sometimes I like argumentation better, particularly with some math behind it. I never met a Perot supporter who'd been a Dukakis supporter, and shrug off the exit numbers as improbable since they jar with what I experienced. They're perhaps more plausible than a "40% want to bomb a fictitious country" poll, but not much.

But lets assume the numbers are accurate: how do they play out if Perot took 65% from Bush, and 35% from Clinton, so if Perot hadn't existed, those voters would have divided up accordingly to the other two candidates?

You only need 270 votes to win, Clinton got 370 and Bush 168. However, absent Perot, and under the margin of victory in the actual elections, Bush would have taken Georgia (13 votes), New Hampshire (4), Ohio (21), New Jersey (15), Montana (3), Nevada (4), Kentucky (8), Colorado (8), Wisconsin (11), Louisiana (9), and Tennessee (11) (Tennessee is the borderline case - Gore brought a bit of power there, and his family was well-connected - it could well have been a hairsplitter in '92). 107 + 168 = win. New Jersey leans Dem, New Hampshire, Nevada, and Colorado are swing states, and the rest are Republican-lean states. This is not a wild fantasy.

Point is, even if Clinton stomped all over Bush in California, NY, and several other states, and won 75% of the popular vote, but-for Perot, he might well have lost the election as it actually played out. Which every Democrat and every Republican professional you will ever hear from will vehemently reject as ridiculous.

locumranch said...


Larry_H makes a good point:

Our right to swing our fists at his nose is limited only by his ability (and/or the ability of his proxies) to retaliate & escalate in kind.

So it goes with surveillance & sousveillance as evidenced by (1) Thiel's ability to score maximum hit points on Gawker & the Fourth Estate, (2) Russia's annexation of Crimea & choice bits of the Ukraine, and (3) France's '├ętat d'urgence' ability to rescind due process & institute martial law.

The Rule-of-Law is representational rather than physical. It is the map whereas Brute Force is the territory; and, we forget this icky detail at our own peril.


Best

Laurent Weppe said...

* "I never met a Perot supporter who'd been a Dukakis supporter"

No: what you never met is a Dukakis supporter who'd admit to have voted for Perot without the cover of anonymity.

***

* "But lets assume the numbers are accurate: how do they play out if Perot took 65% from Bush, and 35% from Clinton"

It's not 35% for Clinton and 65% for Bush: it's 35% for Clinton, 50% for Bush and 15% not voting: remember that Perot's presence increased the turnout.

In that case, Bush would have won Georgia, NH, Ohio, New Jersey, Montana and Nevada with paper-thin leads, while Clinton would have won, -also with paper-thin leads- Kentucky and Wisconsin, with Louisiana and Tennessee coming to Clinton with more comfortable leads, and Colorado being a virtual tie.

So you'd have Bush senior loosing the popular vote by three million voices, and coming 34 to 42 electors short to win the electoral college. A closer contest, but one ultimately won by Clinton nonetheless. At most, perhaps some wonks looking at the close state races would have realized that the electoral college was screwed up 8 years before it became obvious.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Larry_H makes a good point:


Oh, I must have been wrong, then.


Our right to swing our fists at his nose is limited only by his ability (and/or the ability of his proxies) to retaliate & escalate in kind.


Was that my point?

No, my parents taught me to use my powers for good on the farm back in Smallville. Apparently, your parents taught you a different lesson as they lay twitching and bleeding on the streets of Gotham City--that the world only makes sense when you force it to.

greg byshenk said...

A slightly belated bit of historico-linguistic pedantry from the Netherlands...

A few posts ago, Paul SB said...

My mother is from Holland, and likes to say that the people of the Low Countries did not have a tradition of using surnames until Roman times. When the Roman tax collectors came along and demanded that everyone tell them their surnames, the locals often came up with very random things like "teakettle." Her own maiden name is just the number four. Perhaps that started with a fourth son who couldn't think of anything better....

The story is fine, but the dates are off.

Until the seventeenth century, proper surnames weren't really used in the Netherlands except among the nobility. If secondary names were needed, they were descriptive -- eg: Jan Willems, or Jan, Willems son -- and both variable and impermanent. Starting in the seventeenth century, they became more common in the larger cities, as more people meant more need to distinguish between them, but even then, "surnames" might change from time to time and generation to generation.

It was under the French, in 1811, that surnames were finally formalized, with a law requiring every family to have a standard surname, and that surname to be passed down from father to children. But only in more rural areas did this mean choosing a surname; in the cities and larger towns it mostly just meant formalizing surnames that already existed.

As for the 'Vier' (the number four), I wouldn't be surprised if it is a variation on 'Veer', which could come from either 'veer' (feather) or 'veerpont' (ferry). The stories of people choosing silly names are mostly just stories.

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul451: My apologies. I didn’t mean to imply they were your numbers or statements. I got that you were relaying things. It’s just that they don’t jibe with what I know. Obviously, I could be wrong, so I’ll do the honest thing and go check with my friends. They should have inside information that helps shape their campaign efforts.

Maybe those numbers are correct, but I’ll see if I can add something useful instead of my usual offering of opinion. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@Rob H: Regarding your Social Libertarian Party idea, I’ll respectfully suggest you are philosophically doomed the moment you put an adjective in front of ‘liberty’. The real quagmire shows up when you try to parse your options in terms of Prudence because Liberty is a transcendent concept. Think about it. Some would use the term Sacred. Prudence is at the Profane level of life (the other end), so you’ll have to write many, many volumes before you’ve specified the intricacies. I doubt you’ll get enough people to read it to form a viable party, let alone agree. Look at how small the current Libertarians are.

Talk to a lot of libertarians and you’ll hear them speak of liberty as Liberty. It takes the role of Faith or Identity when considering the classic virtues. Even if they are religious, they still might refer to it as Liberty and be at risk of violating Commandment #1. We used to make icons of US coinage, right? 8)

The moment you bring things down toward Earth and think in terms of other virtues like Justice or Prudence, you WILL have to pluralize liberty and deal with all of them if you want to deal with market complexities, fists and noses, and dilemmas regarding other transcendent ideas like Democracy, Family, and Progress. Doing so is the fastest way to get libertarians to waste their time attacking each other with the writing and enforcing of purity tests. I’ve seen it. It’s worse than shouting SQUIRREL in the right crowd. 8)

Robert said...

Except Social Libertarianism isn't for the majority of libertarians. At this point over half of libertarians are Randians who feel corporations have greater rights than people, that courts can exist without governments, and that their ideals would work if only we abolished that evil thing called government. Just give us a chance guys! Honest! Oh, and just leave all the pre-existing infrastructure since you already made it. You can keep the bill.

Social Libertarianism is for the minority of libertarians who, like myself, realize government regulations are required in some areas - business, environment, national defense, preventing state government overreach, etc. but who still want personal freedoms. It's the "get the government out of my personal affairs" group... which includes some Tea Partiers who are anti-Democrat but hate what the Republicans have done, the Coffee Party and Occupy movements, and other non-political/independents.

Rob H.

Alfred Differ said...

I don't know that they are half of the LP. From what I've seen in southern CA, utopians of another variety (Peace always) out-number them. The Randians are the most vocal, but that leads to a measurement selection effect. At least near where I live, you would not be in a minority among them. You are describing a piece of classical liberalism which fits well with many.

Even if you are correct, though, going for a minority of a minority party looks to me like a recipe for political irrelevance. I'd rather draw people into the regular LP and out-number the Randians. Let THEM form a pure splinter party or stick with us because they really don't have any better options. Parties that accomplish anything are like umbrellas sheltering people who choose to tolerate each other for a while.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch: I’m not sure you get it. My liberty ends when your fist reaches my nose because you are now coercing me. It’s not really about passive and active. It’s about negative and positive definitions of freedom. My liberty is intact if I am not being coerce, thus a punch in the nose demonstrates the problem.

OBVIOUSLY, my liberty is defended by my own fists, but I’d much rather coax you into not punching me. Most people avoid coercing me and I try to reciprocate and leave the use of fists implied but unsaid. It’s a good deal since when most of us do it; we get to devote our effort and resources to accomplish other things than defense of our personal liberty. It comes down to trust. I don’t withhold my fists as an act of Prudence. I withhold them as an act of Justice, Love, and a bit of Faith and Hope. Trust.

donzelion said...

@Laurent - gosh, I really had no idea I'd be debating the '92 elections today. If I am mentally masturbating, then you're either voyeuristic or indulgent. ;-)

You've convinced me though, so I'll concede: Perot did not cause Bush Sr.'s downfall. Here's another persuasive article on point. I'm still a bit leery of the numbers (50/35 split among voters seems odd - I still think the Perotists jumped aboard the Gingrich "Contract on America" in '94, and look at the states Clinton grabbed in '92 which became Republican-leaners soon after).

Reverting to the original premise, on 3rd party candidates. My first observation is that conventional wisdom deems them mostly irrelevant. On presidential elections - MAYBE '00 Nader flipped Florida to Bush Jr. Other than that, it hasn't happened since Taft/Wilson/Roosevelt.

Alfred Differ said...

@Laurent: Last time I checked, the most tried and failed Constitutional amendment is the one for fixing the Electoral College. Everyone has known for 20+ decades that it has problems. We've learned the only way to fix it is to call a Convention and no one wants to open that can of worms except the people who want to burn the nation down.

The number of things that need fixing is HUGE just to bring us into line with how we ACTUALLY operate the government. Add on what all the idealists want and we have a feast prepared for a civil war.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion: If we have any relevance it is in shifting the alliances under each umbrella. The minor parties lose, but certain factions win after a realignment. TR represented a progressive wing of the Republicans which Wilson effectively took for the Democrats in some states.

Perot was an extra dagger in Bush Sr's back. The economy was the first one and more than enough for the job.

Alfred Differ said...

@Marino: For the short time I considered contributing in the writing sense to the 1632 farm team, the ideas I had in mind were more analogous to foam than to lasers. The original singularity was described as spherical with high precision, so breaking that would be bad, but the people involved described only the spatial shape. As David’s story exploits, they could not describe the temporal shape. That means there is no reason one can’t have other singularities pop through as the foam’s interior surfaces pass through an observer’s apparent reality. That leaves all sorts of room for fan fiction that isn’t part of the main story line.

Since the original 1632 novel did speak briefly about a race (descendants of humans apparently) being miffed at the race responsible, that would leave room for corrective actions from way uptime or across the multiverse. Lots of fun to be had.

One thing to note in the current Ring of Fire book is Flint’s estimate of how many words have been written for 1632 universe stories. I hadn’t realized how big that number was getting. Avoiding contradiction isn’t easy anymore.

David Brin said...

Treebeard in his sexual mojo theory clearly (and supported by past evidence) speaks for himself.
OTOH Locum has been taking vitamins. Still a bit chilling, but cogently expressed.

In fact, I am all for empowering people to supply their own deterrence, not with fists or guns but cameras. All under the umbrella of a looser govt that is still capable of deterring abuse by fists and guns.

LarryHart hast post of the day with: “No, my parents taught me to use my powers for good on the farm back in Smallville. Apparently, your parents taught you a different lesson as they lay twitching and bleeding on the streets of Gotham City--that the world only makes sense when you force it to.”

MArino, sure, ironies abound. But Alvin & Huck would have no patience with PM theorists.

Donzel you leave out that the court then smashes gerrymandering and electoral cheating to bits and THEN the dems take the House.

Rob are you seriously the author of Conan? Or a relative of the Stooges?

Robert said...

Yes, Dr. Brin. I have survived 110 years and past my "death" by eating the brains of people curious as to if I'm "the" Robert Howard. As to my relation to the Stooges, I'm not sure. I am related (indirectly) to Catherine Anne, who kind of lost her head over Henry VIII. ;)

Rob H.

Jumper said...

Poor loco. The Consortium against "might makes right" is so sneaky and unfair, the way they keep winning. Their ways just verify your victimhood.

Robert said...

And as an aside, I have actually considered writing a novel in which Red Sonya of Rogatino is somehow transported back in time and helps a zombified Conan fight cultists seeking to raise the house at R'lyeh to awaken dread Cthulhu... and end the book with H.P. Lovecraft and certain other authors on the boat that smashed into Cthulhu's head, and having him rescue a delirious Sonja while a hideously mutated zombie-Conan swims through Cthulhu's "brain" devouring it and keeping Cthulhu from waking fully.

I just don't think I could do it justice.

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Calling Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard?

Actually, as a sane human of decent esthetic tastes, naturally, "my favorite is Curly." Um duh?

What I don't get is some folks's hatred on poor Shemp, the third Howard brother, and - in my opinion - a terrific comic genius!

Under-rated... Larry Fine. A truly great comedian!

My respects to the family, Rob. wub- wub- wub- wub- wub- wub- wub-!


And onward


onward.

donzelion said...

@Rob H (this can't be passed up) - "I have actually considered writing a novel in which Red Sonya of Rogatino...helps a zombified Conan swims through Cthulhu's "brain" devouring it and keeping Cthulhu from waking fully. I just don't think I could do it justice."

You just did. ;-) (OK, sorry, onward indeed)

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