Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Panicking GOP lords: we want just 5 words from you.

I'll get to those five words -- the only five words that the masters and manipulators who have ruined American conservatism deserve to speak -- toward the end.  But first ...

The buzz, a week or so ago, was that some of those lords, Mitt Romney, George Bush and others, appeared set to endorse Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson. Whether or not they do this, the question resounds: Can the Libertarian Party candidates – former Republican governors Johnson & Weld – top 15% in the polls and thereby get onto the Presidential debates? And what would be the consequences? 

Paul Ryan can see aspects to relish – if no candidate wins 270 electoral votes, the choice goes to the House of Representatives, which Ryan feels he owns… (though in that case I’ll bet some libertarian electors - perhaps even republican ones - will defect, first). 


On the other hand, if Johnson lures ten million more-sane-than-confederate and non-fundamentalist republicans into the Libertarian Party, it's likely Ryan and Rupert Murdoch will never get them back. (I can live with the LP being the loyal opposition, instead of the now-drooling-insane and utterly non-loyal-to-America GOP.)

And yet, the dems have worries, too, if J-W gets into the debates. There will be some democrats draining to Johnson-Weld… not as many as flee from Trump, but when Johnson pulls out a marijuana joint and lights it, onstage, you can see a real wave form! Moreover, can you imagine how it will revive radical Bernie-or-Busters, who’ll scream for the Green Party’s Jill Stein to be on-stage too? Even if she’s far below the 15% threshold?  Hillary won’t want to stir that pot back to a boil.

Me? I’m sending Johnson a fraction of what I am sending Clinton. Oh, I do this every election, hoping the Libertarians will rise and draw more-sane-than-confederate and non-fundamentalist republicans into the LP -- so that the party that's legitimately opposing the Democrats is one that has some intellect, some rationality and some belief in science. And staying out of our bedrooms and bathrooms and bodies. 

== Red-Blue Comparisons ==

Are we ready yet for those five words?  Nope. Hang on a bit.

Time and again we’ve heard sneers at “New York Values.” All my life I've experienced - and so have you - the endlessly-ranted litany that city-folk and educated people are corrupt and indecent. Claims that Red America - the land of "real folks" - is where you'll find less-tainted, less sin-drenched and more moral living. 

We've also had decades of preaching for ‘Supply Side’ economic theory, which demands we slash taxes for the rich and ease the extraction of resources from public lands. Economies will skyrocket! Deficits plummet! So go the narratives.

But according to almost every metric of economic success, blue states are generally outperforming red states even while heavily subsidizing them. Blue states are where entrepreneurship, inventions and wealth generation take place, generally under higher marginal tax rates on the wealthy that allow investment in schools and infrastructure. These charts are simply staggering.

How many decades must folks put up with "California is an overtaxed hell," that businesses are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship? Yet, every year the state gets more creative, bursting with enterprise, well-led with both far-seeing investment and fiscal health.

Opposite case in point, Kansas, whose radical Tea Party governor oversaw huge tax cuts for the rich and eased extraction rules… followed by exploding deficits, cancelled months of schools, collapsing highways and economic decay. Oh, Kansas and similarly governed Oklahoma have experienced a sharp rise in fracking-related earthquakes. 

(Didn't feel any while there for the World Sci Fi convention last week... but tremors are normal at worldcons, and George Martin hired a kick-butt band for the Hugo Losers Party!)

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Demonstrating the old saw about Insanity, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback now calls for solving the problem by cutting high tier taxes further and selling public lands cheap. 


Values? Shall we try values? If we subtract outliers like Utah and Detroit & Chicago, name a metric of moral and healthy living that is not worse in Red America, from teen sex, STD and pregnancy rates to obesity, dropouts, smoking, divorce and domestic violence, gambling and so on. Name... one... exception.  Other than abortion which is a disagreement over fundamentals. Abstinence sex education – in particular – was an interesting experiment that has failed utterly, having exactly opposite to intended effects. Sane people would learn from such direct and blatant evidence. 


Hence the war against science and every evidence-based profession.


This article actually tries to be fair! Indeed, elsewhere I have pointed out that Red State exceptions like Utah, Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, Virginia and Florida all heavily invested in their universities.  With two results:


(1) They’ve done better than other red states.


(2) But thereupon Colorado, North Carolina, Arizona, Virginia, Florida and to a lesser extent Georgia are rapidly turning Purple and – in several cases – blue.  Whole swathes of Texas are now blue and the GOP grip there would fail, but for cheats like gerrymandering. 


Sorry, that’s what happens when you try to do well by your people, by investing in them and in education.  It’s only a ‘bad thing’ if you choose to twist and view it that way. You don't have to. 


== Let's hear from Trump's enablers ==

Okay.  It's almost time.

What are the only five words I want to hear from Ryan, Romney, McCain, Murdoch, the Kochs & Co?

Soon. But first... it’s not surprising that Donald Trump now polls at or below 40%. What’s shocking is that one-third of U.S. voters don’t care about his daily spew of maniacal cackles that would have suicided any other major politician, or even a local dog-catcher. 

Sure, a rolling tide of decent Republicans defecting from the GOP has been joined by members of the studiously apolitical intelligence community and military Officer Corps, whose near-religious devotion to neutrality was shattered by the prospect of a solipsistic carnival barker with nukes. (See below.)

— Oh, read this former head of the CIA, ending his lifelong stance of eschewing politics.  Because an American patriot has to, this time.


But what stands out is how SLOW this hemorrhage is! Or the strength of Denial. For the most part, we see an array of monkeys with hands over eyes, ears and mouths. Conservative columnists like Jennifer Rubin and David Brooks and even the despicable George F. Will have been standing up, saying “Trump’s Enablers Will Finally Have to Take a Stand…”

…but none of them yet is willing to accept the true diagnosis. Calling TRUMP the ‘disease,’ instead of what he truly is... a mere symptom of rot that they helped to infect into susceptible American conservatism. 


Foremost, a bilious war on science, economics, law, diplomacy, journalism, medicine, civil servants, skilled labor and every other fact-centered profession or clade in American life. That is the core, element - that war against the part of America that works in facts - a deeper campaign that has nothing to do with classic “left” or “right”.

The Kochs, Murdochs, Saudis and other financiers of this movement - this revived Confederacy - thought they could stir resentment of “smartypants” and use it against their perceived leftist enemies… much as 1860s plantation lords got a million poor, white Southerners to march and die against their own best interests. 


Or a better example: the Junkers-caste 1930s prussian oligarchs, who thought they could control a populist beast they helped stir into hydrophobic frenzy.

Surprise, surprise! In its froth, the beast threw its riders and a gifted svengali leaped aboard, grabbing the reins. He is not to be blamed as much as the beastmasters who wielded the whip for three decades. 


You, who thought you could control this panicking creature were not - (especially Mr. Will) - anywhere near as smart as you thought you were. History would have predicted this. If you bothered to learn any.

No, I have vastly more patience with Trump and his followers than with Ryan, McConnell, McCain, Romney and the other heirs of Dennis Hastert, Dick Cheney and George W. Bush - leaders of the GOP who got no mention at all, during the recent Republican Convention (think about what that means). 


Their lordly whimpers and winces and whines draw no sympathy. Contempt for a mob you created wins no sympathy. You traitors gelded the United States Congress for 20 of the last 22 years, turning the world’s greatest legislature into the world’s most corrupt and by-far laziest in our nation's history.  

You are in no position to lecture anyone.

We want only five words from you:

“OMG, what have we done?”


71 comments:

A.F. Rey said...

You've been worried about Republicans hacking the voting systems and turning the election for a while. Well, how about the Russians doing so?

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/politics/bs-md-election-hacking-20160829-story.html

The FBI alerted Arizona officials in June that Russians were behind the assault on the election system in that state.

Fortunately, it only looks like they were after access to voter registration. But what if they got control of the votes themselves? If anyone still needs convincing of the need for paper copies, this would be it.

OTOH, maybe they already have access to the votes. After all, Trump was elected as the Republican nominee... O_O

David Brin said...

HAdn't thought of that! Maybe DT has already benefited from electoral hacking! After all, why else would Cruz lose?

Unknown said...

I am saddened to learn that you consider "OMG" a word. Aside from that, nothing to disagree with.

Jonathan Sills said...

I'd settle for "Donald Trump has been fired" - baby steps, you know. :-)

A.F. Rey said...

Slightly more on topic, FiveThirtyEight had an interesting article on how Johnson/Stein supporters will probably vote on down-ballot candidates.

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/down-ballot-democrats-should-go-after-johnson-and-stein-voters/

According to the source they use (which is basically one polling company, since Johnson or Stein supporter are statistically insignificant in any given poll), a little more than half (53%) of Johnson supporters vote Republican down-ballot, while 46% vote Democrat (when not given any other choice). But Stein supporters vote only 25% Republican and 74% Democrat.

So getting the third-party voters out will help Democrats in Congress. Which probably means it would be helpful if both were included in the debates.

(The biggest drawback I see is that Trump does better when he's not the sole focus of a debate. He can make his outrageous remarks and then fade into the background, like he did in the Republican debates. If he's only against Hillary, he has no background to fade into. :))

Alfred Differ said...

I'd like to see Johnson get the 15% necessary, but there is another goal he seems to have in mind. While talking about the debate target, he is reaching the federal funding target. Small parties can't touch federal elections money until they prove they are big enough. That means a decent performance from Johnson this time brings a new money stream next time.

The GOP should be concerned about the smaller milestones. They demonstrate legitimacy.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

A.F. Rey said, "The biggest drawback I see is that Trump does better when he's not the sole focus of a debate. He can make his outrageous remarks and then fade into the background, like he did in the Republican debates. . . ."

For a direct response from Gary Johnson about this exact subject, see:

http://www.richmond.com/opinion/our-opinion/article_6d6299ac-ceff-56db-9722-65decb8a3612.html

Jump ahead in the video interview to 31 minutes and 30 seconds for Johnson's relevant comments.

This is an interview with the Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial board.

dominictemple said...

They'll never be able to back down, because then they'll have to say the 3 words every conservative and professional centrist pundit and commentator has spent 8 years avoiding, "liberals were right." That's why the day Bush stopped being president the whole message turned to "both sides are equally to blame" and it remains the get out of jail card to this day.

Laurent Weppe said...

* "We want only five words from you:"

To be frank, I'd rather have these ten:
"I dishonored my House. Thus, I will do my duty"

(I'm kidding! I'm kidding! I'm... Okay, only half kidding)

Tacitus2 said...

Sometimes you have something all written up and the events of the day come along. Ah, what the heck, it goes to press anyway. So its a minor quibble perhaps but perhaps extolling "New York Values" on the heels of the latest Anthony Weiner news is not ideal.

It does not happen often but every few years I get a peculiar tingling in my fingertips...my normally stolid midwestern expression takes on a hint of mania, and I am tempted to slam down a fervid screed under the moniker "Isomeric Brin", taking to task the Democratic party in the same colorful terms we have come to reliably expect from our genial host. It's been a few years and this time I will let the fit pass.

But there was a time when Weiner and Huma were viewed as the proteges, the next Power Couple. And in the august company of Elliot Spitzer and with the solid, straightforward support of Charles Rangel they would ascend to the pinnacle of power in New York. And beyond.

Didn't quite turn out that way.

I say let the Libertarians into the debate. I am assiduously not invoking the Forbidden Idea that both parties are equally bad. But we have tolerated having 17 Republicans on stage in the primaries so I think three would be a comfortable number. And we might hear something interesting. It might even give people better cheer regards our sad political circus.

I have admitted that my predictions are crap this cycle. But for what little it is worth I see Trump losing in a landslide. The Party Elders know this already. I certainly hope that in the post apoc landscape that will be the GOP after November 16 the few plucky survivors will give deep thought to the dilemma that - damn, I have to say it - both parties had to deal with.

In the GOP the voters chose. Very badly as it happens, but to reject their choice would be at a minimum unseemly and perhaps we should go so far as to say undemocratic.

Per assorted leaked documents the DNC was and is totally in the bag for Hillary. One can only imagine what warnings were whispered to worthy aspiring candidates. And when rusty old Bernie performed better than expected the Party did all it could to dampen that down.

I've run on at excessive length and with too little depth but I do believe in the states being the laboratory for the nation. Kansas is not looking really great just now. But I would keep a close, close eye on California's pension issues. I fear much is being papered over. And not only there.

We shall see.

Tacitus

Tony Fisk said...

News of a kick-ass band at the Hugo Losers Party may go some way to explaining why GRRM hasn't written it up yet.

"And you may say to yourself 'OMG. What have I done?'
Letting the days go by..."

TCB said...

What a lot of the extreme authoritarians will actually say when they run out of excuses?

A few possibilities:

"Why didn't somebody warn us?"

"Well, who could have known?"

"God is testing our faith."

"It was all leftist sabotage."

"But the alternative was worse!"

"Stop dwelling on the past."

"You'd have done the same."

"You just want revenge."

"We'll fix it next time."

Jumper said...

Why did I decide to read in depth on Ernst Rohm? The "Night of Long Knives" of course.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Rohm

IainPerkin said...

The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.
Pierre Elliot Trudeau (Former Prime Minister of Canada and father of the present Prime Minister).

Michael Bryant said...

I wonder which brand of horse-blinder the establishment issues incumbents when sworn into office? The social psychologist in me has been fascinated beyond measure over these past few election cycles. Since the advent of the internet, there has been an increasing shift in political inertia that seemingly jolted the establishment freight train right off the rails this time because none of them seem to understand the fundamental nature of exponential technological progress. Our livelihoods depend on embracing change. People are beginning to seriously consider valid alternatives to our brand of representative democracy. Tucked away inside of our hyper-connected realities, we are witnessing livestreams of its death throes in high definition, high fidelity, simultaneously from every angle, agenda and individual perspective. It’s no wonder our politicians can’t get anything done- suffering from cognitive dissonance and change-blindness, they remain petrified… quaking from fear of their future, owners and constituents in equal measure. When technological unemployment begins kicking them in the tenders, they are going to ultimately find pitchforks and torches at every escape route. This is only the beginning.

Jumper said...

Jerry Emanuelson, thanks for the link to Johnson's interview. Recommended.

matthew said...

Tacitus, I encourage you to write the Isometric Brin screed you mention. Either you will provide good balance to our conversation, or you will reveal your arguments to be a cover for your unwillingness to acknowledge any fact that disagrees with your dogma. Either way, this community wins.

LarryHart said...

dominictemple:

That's why the day Bush stopped being president the whole message turned to "both sides are equally to blame" and it remains the get out of jail card to this day.


You noticed that too? :)

After the Obama inauguration, suddenly there were a lot of vocal people who are "not partisan--I complain when both parties do it." But curiously, they only complain about both parties when Democrats are in power.

Likewise, since I have started paying attention, I have noticed a 100% percent correlation--no exceptions--that when someone calls up a radio host and says "I'm an independent who listens to both sides," he's about to go off on a right-wing talking point. Now, I don't listen to right-wing radio, so maybe the effect is opposite over there? I'd be willing to listen to someone who knows so.

LarryHart said...

Laurent Weppe:

(I'm kidding! I'm kidding! I'm... Okay, only half kidding)


Al Franken has a good phrase for that: "Kidding on the square".

Alfred Differ said...

Johnson's energy regarding inflammatory speech coming from Trump is fun to watch. 8)

I've also seen him deal with the pot question elsewhere. He made it clear the Presidency is a 24x7 job requiring one keep ones wits about them. That means no consumption while in office.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

But there was a time when Weiner and Huma were viewed as the proteges, the next Power Couple. And in the august company of Elliot Spitzer and with the solid, straightforward support of Charles Rangel they would ascend to the pinnacle of power in New York. And beyond.


A difference is that Weiner, like John Edwards before him, was a rising star in the Democratic Party until he did something that made it impossible for him to be a standard bearer. Not something that invalidated any of his political positions, mind you, just something that disqualified himself personally from being the messenger.

Trump, on the other hand, has said and done plenty that should have disqualified him, some of which directly involves policy (e.g., abandoning NATO), and yet he still is the standard bearer. That says something about the Republican Party that is simply not equivalent on the other side.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

In the GOP the voters chose. Very badly as it happens, but to reject their choice would be at a minimum unseemly and perhaps we should go so far as to say undemocratic.

Per assorted leaked documents the DNC was and is totally in the bag for Hillary. One can only imagine what warnings were whispered to worthy aspiring candidates. And when rusty old Bernie performed better than expected the Party did all it could to dampen that down.


You're talking about internal party matters. Both parties have the right to choose their candidate as they see fit, and both parties have to live with the consequences of choosing a poor general-election candidate.

For decades, whenever Republicans lose elections, they claim the answer is to move further to the right. I've wondered in vain since the 1980s when they'd go too far to the right and have to swing back toward the center, but it hasn't happened yet.

In this, indeed both parties do it. Democrats also seem to think they have to go to the right in order to win. You may think Hillary is a socialist who thinks big government is the answer to everything, but the reason for Hillary's high unpopularity is that many Democrats think she's too Republican--too hawkish on war and too tied to big money. With the popularity of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, that dynamic might be coming to an end.

Alfred Differ said...

Per assorted leaked documents the DNC was and is totally in the bag for Hillary.

There is nothing wrong with a party being totally in the bag for one candidate. The traditional responsibility for parties is to choose candidates. We took some of that from them by forcing primary elections, but that is still a partial accomplishment. Parties still have a large role to play and the GOP failure to screen out Trump is an excellent example of what they should still be able to do, but didn't.

Party Bosses on their own make a joke of democracy.
As we are seeing with Trump, there is another kind of 'joke' when populism takes over.

Tacitus2 said...

Matthew

I'm gonna pass. Last time I went Isomeric Dr. Brin got rather annoyed. And I guess rightly so. He does not spend the time and effort to keep ConBrin up for the purpose of being snarked at. But his recurring cliches do lend themselves to such an endevour.

LarryHart

As I recall Weiner was running for Mayor of New York when scandal round two hit. Spitzer also was on the comeback trail in 2013, running for Comptroller. I guess you could describe Democratic support of either to be....subdued.

I regard the Republican party as far less functional than the Democratic one. Bumblers who are unable to tap into the prevailing fairly conservative mood of (much of) the electorate.

I "may" think Hillary is a socialist, but honestly I don't. I think she is reasonable centrist but I am not sure she will actually be steering the boat.

Well as I said, we shall see.

Tacitus

Paul SB said...

I'm too tired to say anything useful, but I was wondering if the "My God, what have we done?" line indicates that Dr. Brin has a secret fondness for the music of David Byrne?
Letting the days go by...

Robert said...

There is one other thing to consider.

Mind you, I am going to be saying this... as someone who does not like Hillary Clinton and would far prefer Bernie Sanders running on the Democratic ticket instead of her.

Bernie Sanders is not a Democrat. He is an Independent who allies himself with Democrats. He was running for President on the Democratic ticket... but was not a Democrat.

Do I honestly need to spell this out? Because it makes sense for the DNC not to be enthusiastic about Sanders. I mean, Sanders was fantastic and helped draw in a lot of people into politics and I hope his message sticks. I hope that young people listen to him and go forth and enter politics and start fixing things from the ground up. Because we need them. That said? He was not a Democrat. Why should the DNC support him beyond the bare minimum they are legally required to?

Rob H.

David Brin said...

Tacitus, Weiner is clearly neurotic-compulsive. Nothing he or Spitzer did was illegal (much) or even very turpitudinous. But they showed character flaws that disqualified them for power. Tragic in Spitzer’s case because during the Bush years he was the only force for actual law enforcement against Wall Street abuses.

But in fact, compare the kind of silly-sex torts of democrats to the child abuse we’ve seen from many republicans. Please. There are venn diagram overlaps. But the overall circles are VERY different and you should find them disturbing.

And yes, I seem focused in one partisan direction. Please, you know me. You know that I despise many elements of a preachy and bullying PC police far-left. But seriously? If my hypotheses about the Murdochian putsch are right… and mountains and volcanoes of evidence support it… then this torching has to burn to the ground and root and branch.

There will be an American conservatism! There has to be! I want one! I am hoping the LP-Johnson will be a core. It will ruin “libertarianism” but be the salvation of US conservatism.

“I regard the Republican party as far less functional than the Democratic one. Bumblers who are unable to tap into the prevailing fairly conservative mood of (much of) the electorate.”

Sorry, but they were stunningly disciplined and marched to Roger Ailes talking points daily. Until the edifice collapsed. The Congressional GOP is still tightly disciplined… in the cause of rendering congress worthless.

Paul SB Talking Heads forever!

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I regard the Republican party as far less functional than the Democratic one. Bumblers who are unable to tap into the prevailing fairly conservative mood of (much of) the electorate.


The electorate is largely conservative in the sense of "don't rock the boat" or "don't mess with what works". The GOP seems to think that means they are also conservative in the sense of forced conformity in the social realm and privatization in the economic. Much of the electorate is also Christian, which the GOP conflates with (my term) Christianists. Not everyone who believes in the Lord and Savior wants non-believers to be treated as second class citizens.

The GOP reach exceeds its grasp, and it it the fault of the Democratic Party and Democratic (non-)voters that we don't sweep every election in a landslide against these guys.

That said, blatant Republican voter-suppression is a problem as well, and demonstrates a clear lack of faith in American small-d democracy by these so-called patriots.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

A cogent analysis of the electorate. I don't agree entirely, but mostly.

David

I love the word turpitude and it has been too long since I have had it come my way!

Now, the original issue was "New York Values". So, fair is fair, lets look at New York pols.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/07/23/nyregion/23moreland-commission-and-new-york-political-scandals.html

If you don't want to be bothered to click over its the New York Times running down the polticians of the last decade who have been convicted of stuff. Oh, they fudge a litle, a few were just censured, fined, resigned in the nick of time, etc.

25 D and 5 R. It seems like IL that political corruption is an equal opportunity business. Even trifling with interns (sorry, details were not given) was split pretty fairly.

Here is WI we have to go back a couple of decades and even so the sample size is tiny. Since 2000 there have been only 7 pols with similar confirmed misdeeds, and several of them are rather nebulous. But 4 R and 3 D. I knew one of them slightly. A person with unfortunate substance abuse issues.

Tacitus

Anonymous said...

So the ruse continues. Ever notice Gary Johnson talk about the Libertarian Party Platform? You rail against the Kochs, but do not mention they are more affiliated with libertarian ideas than the GOP's (David Koch ran as a Libertarian in 1980). Kansas is their Libertarian petri dish. If you like public schools, medicare, medicaid, social security, the VA, etc. that platform is not for you.

David Gorski said...

"Oh, I do this every election, hoping the Libertarians will rise and draw more-sane-than-confederate and non-fundamentalist republicans into the LP -- so that the party that's legitimately opposing the Democrats is one that has some intellect, some rationality and some belief in science."

This can't be the same Libertarian Party I see that you're talking about.

Paul SB said...

I must have been really sleepy last night. I didn't notice that Tony had made the same observation about Dr. Brin's phraseology (I note, feeling somewhat sheepish). While it may seem trivial, I have often found that paying attention to small details often can reveal important aspects of a person or a situation. Dr. Brin comes from the generation that grew up with what we refer to as "classic" rock & roll, and most people tend to gravitate toward the musical styles they listened to in the high school and maybe college years. The fact that he has latched onto a popular band from the following generation speaks to a level of flexible thinking most people rarely approach. While I get pretty tired of all the poly-ticks, I have to say that I can respect his judgment on such matters as a general rule. Like my mother, who proudly voted Reagan as soon as she got her US citizenship, then did a 180 after Iran-Contra, Dr. Brin started in the Republican camp but has flipped to the other side. This does not look like a maneuver to gain cred, but a genuine change of heart based on the facts and perceived patterns. This is exactly what a scientist is supposed to do. If the facts don't match your theory, it's time to jettison the theory and think again. Being able to apply that to physics or other sciences is par for the course. Being able to apply that to just about any aspect of life is true honesty at a scale few achieve. We mostly just lie to ourselves to preserve our egos when faced with the prospect of being proven wrong or foolish.

Being able to do this at an advanced age is more difficult still. Since music is a fetish of mine, my mind naturally wonders if there are any musicians belonging to the Millennial Generation that he enjoys, but we can look for evidence of continued flexibility in other realms - whatever turns your crank. Either way, it shows that a level of thoughtfulness that is not mere reactionary, the dominant element of these debates.

And this is very different from Donald Dunk suddenly softening his position on immigration. The Donald has shown he is not as straight a shooter as he claims. He can waffle with the best of them, like a true politician seeking votes. None of us can know every relevant thing about any issue, but we can choose what sources to trust. Choose wisely, or end up living the life of Confirmation Bias.

raito said...

My favorite version of that song is the calypso version by Big Daddy.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9kJUBPiMSbg

I was confused a bit by this whole 15% thing. I thought whoever was holding the debate set the rules. And they do. But the CPD is not everyone. Don't like their rules for their own debates? Hold your own.

For myself, I hope for third parties to do relatively well for another reason. In my state, I believe that parties getting more than 5% get some rights they might not otherwise have, though I'm not finding references offhand. Then again, most of that was probably GAB rules, and they were dissolved. Who knows what the new rules are or will be.

greg byshenk said...

A delayed response from the previous page.

Paul SB (et al)
The argument is that "H. economicus is the best thing we've got" for building practical economic models. Of course there are other models of human behaviour, and there are even economists attempting to do things with them. But (at least as I recall it), the argument was that those other models with other assumptions quickly become intractable when trying to answer the questions people want economists to answer.

ElitistB said...

Robert - "Why should the DNC support him beyond the bare minimum they are legally required to?"

If they had done just that, the DNC probably wouldn't be experiencing the backlash it is going through at this point.

Alfred Differ said...

@greg.byshenk: So an economist should answer questions using a model known to be faulty? These answers get used to set government policy on occasion. You are content with that for now?

I'd rather the economists admitted they don't know. I'd rather they were honest enough to admit they have multiple answers based on various models. I'd rather they faced the fact that they are better at saying what NOT to do instead of what TO do.

Alfred Differ said...

If we are going to talk about NY values, we should probably say what they are. I suspect we don't all agree and wind up comparing apples and oranges.

All our biggest cities have their own nature, I suspect, and maybe more than one. The biggest states certainly do.

A.F. Rey said...

Slightly off topic again, but rumor has it that James Croft, a humanist minister in St. Louis, was arrested for recording the police on his cell phone and is now asking for help to pay court costs.

https://www.generosity.com/emergencies-fundraising/help-james-croft-fight-protest-related-charges--2

I say "rumor has it" because I have not independently verified these claims, so caveat emptor. (Or is it caveat donor? :))

Jumper said...

I never heard of the Lunar Society before
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lunar_Society_of_Birmingham
or the Midlands Enlightenment either
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Midlands_Enlightenment
The names involved are just amazing. Lots of letter writing in those days.

Lorraine said...

Have you hear of CABUM?

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

Dr. Brin comes from the generation that grew up with what we refer to as "classic" rock & roll, and most people tend to gravitate toward the musical styles they listened to in the high school and maybe college years. The fact that he has latched onto a popular band from the following generation speaks to a level of flexible thinking most people rarely approach.


Having kids helps keep one current on music. Of course, one must also be open to new stuff for that to work.

Lorraine said...

Finally found it on Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20010221032955/http://stu.wccnet.org/~bwells/gdt200/cabum1.html

David Brin said...

LH... today's kids are eclectic. My generation used music as a weapon to divide generations. It is now a bridge uniting them. We raised better people than we were.

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

I might have inspired that "blow up the moon" meme. I claimed Rumsfeld and Cheney wanted to do that.

Talking Heads weren't completely out of David's and my cohort. They were right after the Great Cleavage of Redneck Rock, which had more to do with the audience than the bands, as the Allmans spent a lot of time playing West Coast gigs, and Skynyrd were basically hippies... the 'necks just didn't like the New York direction of things - and the Ziggy Stardust, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Roxy Music / Eno things. MTV was a big hammer. Only in the '80s did any real new music identity besides that coalesce.
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts was radical. I listened to that, Kate Bush and Laurie Anderson and when I heard Huun-Huur-Tu and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan I basically went missing from the other scenes.
Around '90 I started to listen to more psychedelic world fusion music.

Alfred Differ said...

I've learned to think of The Enlightenment as a collection of waves and ripples bouncing around between nations and within nations from one community to another. English and Scottish contributions in the 18th century don't make much sense unless one pays attention to the border region between them and the religious dissenters.

What I find most interesting is that real change appeared to come up from below. Look too much at the elite scientists (for example) and one misses the impact engineers had with their technology research frenzy. I like to think Science is real special, but one has to use an overly broad definition of the field if one wants to give it credit for industrialization and the great enrichment. One has to treat engineers as scientists to do that and I'm not inclined to do so. I think the grass-level engineers deserve too much credit for that mixing to make sense.

LarryHart said...

Appropos nothing, I'm saddened as always to bid farewell to the six consecutive months with fewer-than-seven letters in their (English) names, and to begin the long trek through the six consecutive months with seven-or-more letters in their names.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

today's kids are eclectic. My generation used music as a weapon to divide generations. It is now a bridge uniting them. We raised better people than we were.


My daughter certainly does. She has become a fan of the "Hamilton" sound track, and dragged the whole family with her.

Also, she keeps getting exposed to songs from my era in movie soundtracks and thinks they are new songs. Elton John's "Don't Go Breakin' My Heart" came up recently. And one day on my car radio, she heard "I Can See Clearly Now, The Rain Has Gone," and she broke into hysterical laughter, asking "You mean that's a real song? It's not just made up for that commercial?", and then texted all of her friends about it.

I will say this about having a child: it is nothing like I had imagined it would be. You can't predict it; you just have to live it.

Tony Fisk said...

I felt the 'pull of the tides' a while back, and switched to Classical. Which is why my reaction to Jumper's comment was like unto Antimony Carver. I do try and touch base with modern music occasionally. Some Bowie. ABBA. Might even catch up with Prince... OK! OK! Maybe Lorde?

Children are wild cards. My daughter tends to be dismissive of older movies/books ("seen/read that"), until she actually *watches/reads* them. Claims to dislike 'dusty old fairy stories' (in response to having to read "A Wizard of Earthsea" for English, so it was at a disadvantage from the start*). I showed her the original 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie. She retaliated with 'Pixels', and... 'Phil and Dan'!?

* I have to say that the initial three Earthsea novels portrayed a world that was dark and hollow. I'm so glad LeGuin managed to sort it out with the next three.

David Brin said...

American Exceptionalism? Read this speech Hillary Clinton just gave to the American Legion’s national convention, last week. Actually take the time - whether or not you oppose her - to read it. While we may look forward, in a couple of generations, to a future time when our rapidly improving and maturing species can rise above nations, till then there is and remains one indispensable one.
http://time.com/4474619/read-hillary-clinton-american-legion-speech/

Paul SB said...

Yes, children are wild cards - that's the whole purpose of sexual reproduction. My daughter mostly listens to the same stuff I do, so I'm not discovering new musicians through her. My son has gone rigid on dubstep, most of which is kind of nauseating, but there are a few in there that are okay. I still go for Classical at times, but not exclusively. Several of the musicians Jumper mentioned were big in my college days (Early Pleistocene) and I still pop them in once in awhile.

I think I have gotten us way off track, here. But I stand by my assertion that little things can become big clues. If anyone remembers the movie "The English Patient" - the big thing that clued me in to what it was actually about (the romance in it was pure allegory, but most people did't see it) was the music. Specifically, the use of Irving Berlin's song "Cheek to Cheek" which they do twice. The first time, at the beginning of the movie and at the beginning of the War, it was sung by Frank Sinatra, and sounds very bland, formal and affectless compared to the second time, at the end of the movie and the War, sung by Ella Fitzgerald. That little clue made me think back to my history classes, and it all clicked in place.

And Larry, every kid is its own adventure. Sometimes the adventure is thrilling, other times terrifying. Just have to roll with it. Unfortunately, we are starting to sound like a bunch of old ladies going on about their children (minus some of their more colorful adjectives).

Alfred Differ said...

Well... that's better than sounding like a bunch of old men going on about their medical issues. 8)

Tony Fisk said...

Looks like David's concerns about the fragility of JIT supply chains might be getting tested this Christmas: Hanjin Ships Get Stranded in High Seas, Roiling Supply Chain

Alfred Differ said...

Okay. I read through Clinton's speech. I'm still unimpressed with her ability to inspire as a political speaker. She spends lots of time stroking the vets and that is good politics, but it says little about the US being indispensable. What she DID say on that topic was mostly assertions. Yes, yes. We are exceptional. But why? Because many are willing to serve? Nah. Because we defend freedom, justice, other good things? Sure, but how?

I agree we are exceptional, but I don't think it has much to do with what we do as a Nation. I think it has a lot more to do with what we do as a People. Do immigrants come here to become US citizens or to become Americans? There is a difference. It is a difference too complex, I suspect, or political speechifying. Well... maybe it is too complex for Clinton to explain (though she might get it) and I don't think Trump has even the slightest clue.

Listen to Clinton speak. Her ideas run together until they sound like mashed potatoes feel. Soooo many sentences starting with conjunctions. Ugh.

Still, I'd ask her to be President in a heartbeat before I'd ask Trump.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"What I find most interesting is that real change appeared to come up from below. Look too much at the elite scientists (for example) and one misses the impact engineers had with their technology research frenzy. I like to think Science is real special, but one has to use an overly broad definition of the field if one wants to give it credit for industrialization and the great enrichment. One has to treat engineers as scientists to do that and I'm not inclined to do so. I think the grass-level engineers deserve too much credit for that mixing to make sense."

Bloody hell!
I find I'm agreeing with Alfred!
It was the mass of relatively small changes that added up to a huge change
Now the question is "Why did that happen then" (and not earlier)
My take is that it was a combination of available "tools" and possibly a bit of enlightenment "spirit" - the let's try this and see what happens attitude

Howard Brazee said...

A big advantage of having a federal system is that we can have states experiment with philosophies. So we can have states such as Kansas or Louisiana try Trickle-Down Austerity, and the rest of the country can sit back and see how that works.

Of course, if we see it doesn't work and decide that means we need to double-down (because we can't admit it when we are wrong), then that advantage goes away.

Treebeard said...

So to translate: “America is the one exceptional, indispensable nation, because we are the only one that can dispense with nations within a couple of generations and bring about the Federation, in which everyone will wear boots and a snappy logo on their chest and believe the tales about a shiny future in the stars.”

Of course, in practice this means America will have to fight many more wars, because other, much older nations have disagreements about our being dispensable to humanity and reject our self-appointed role as the *universal model* for mankind, which necessitates them being destroyed (or turned into a toothless theme park civilization who perform for our amusement like Native Americans). Won't China, Russia, and the Islamic world will have to be conquered, if not nuked to rubble, just for starters?

And this is why neoliberalism/neoconservatism (not really sure what the difference is at this point) is the most dangerous ideology in the world. Like Communism and Islamism, it arrogates the right to conquer the world because its values are so exceptional (let's recall, since Dr. Brin neglected to this time, that we are greater than every other civilization in history, *combined*). In view of that, we obviously have not only the right, but the obligation to conquer all those inferior civilizations and erase their nations.

All I can say is, get ready for BIG WAR and hope you survive the fallout, 'cuz that's the price of this brand of fanatical exceptionalism.

Howard Brazee said...

A big difference between the Republican population and the Democratic population is how much the Republicans value strong-men. If a politician *acts* strong and competent, he will be a good leader, regardless of what he actually does.

Anonymous said...

Unmentioned is if not for Trump, Hillary of the exceptional regime change in Hondouras has the very worst rating of any presidential candidate. Clinton, of course, is the Republican candidate; why else support right-wing business interests in Hondouras? Oh, the death squads and social chaos? Phshaw, Mammon uber alles—and they were a bunch of commies; if there's anything that gets a stick up the pee goo of the American Empire, it's a rat bastard commie.

Now, why are we installing missile bases in Romania? Rapid improvements such as these seem rather absent any wisdom, though the maturation of strike capabilities on Russia will doubtless give some a rise…

raito said...

I see out host is being contrary again :)

The usual meme was that our generation (and a little before) were the first to have music different from our parents, and that we used it for what independence we could muster. Still, an interesting point of view.

Our children (I had mine very, very late) have access to all the recorded music there ever was. How could you not be eclectic when you can fire up youtube for free and listen to everything from Gregorian chant to recordings from 1800's sheet music to ragtime to the explosion of genres brought on by the music industry coat-tailing on recording technology? Not to mention music from every corner of the world, and every time period.

And still many use the internet as an echo chamber...

Alfred Differ,

I live in such a state. Wisconsin has a couple metro areas, and possibly the Fox Valley and the region close to the Twin Cities on I94 on the blue/liberal/Democratic side. And the rest of the rural state on the red/conservative/Republican side. Still a bit of an oddity, as it tends to be GOP internally, but votes DNC for President.

A.F. Rey said...

FYI, P.Z. Myers did a post on your article in Omni yesterday on "Preparing for our Posthuman Future of Artificial Intelligence."

http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2016/09/01/deliver-us-from-the-fury-of-the-cyborgs-and-grant-us-the-peace-of-cyberspace-o-lord/

(A link to David's article appears on Myers' site.)

He seemed to pretty much agree with you, although he was rather contemptuous of the field of AI speculation in general.

greg byshenk said...

Alfred Differ
I think that policy should be made using the best tools we have. Sometimes the best tools available aren't very good... but what is the alternative?

LarryHart said...

From today's www.electoral-vote.com :

He [Trump] insisted that there would be no path to citizenship or amnesty, and that all 11 million people in the United States illegally would be subject to action. "You can call it deported if you want. The press doesn't like that term. You can call it whatever the hell you want. They're gone,"


At the risk of over-reacting, this ambiguity around just how these people will be "gone" evokes a sort of "Final solution to the Mexican problem". I understand that that is most likely not what Donald Trump himself is planning, but a good chunk of his supporters are sure to take it that way.

Howard Brazee said...

Trump doesn't plan. That kind of detail is beyond his abilities.

matthew said...

I suspect Trump's immigration speech is the moment historians will look at when speaking of this election. The question is "How will it mobilize his base?" Will his white nationalism call 10 million closet racists out to vote for the first time? Or will the rest of America get over their deep distrust of HRC to vote against the demagogue? Last night, Trump doubled-down on his crazy after showing himself to be tantalizingly close the the fabled "pivot." Time will tell if it worked out for him.
The message of the day is "don't be complacent."*

*other than treebeard and whichever frequent commenter was recently praising the Alt-Right. You two can feel complacent. You have my permission slip to skip niceties such as voting.

Jumper said...

Treebeard, which nations are older than the USA? Is it communist China, from about 1949? Which Russia do we talk about? Ah, Imperial Japan. From the 1930s. Yes, much older than the young USA. Mexico. Which one? Before the Revolution and Independence, or after?

Tim W said...

Sad news about SpaceX today.

Videos of the explosion look like it starts at or near the upper stage LOX fill valve. It'll be interesting to see the fault report when they publish it.

Space is hard.

Duncan Cairncross said...

As far as American exceptionalism is concerned
The USA has done a huge amount to help the world
And I will agree with Dr Brin that as empires go it has been the best

But as far as the western world is concerned it has also been a wonderful example of "what not to do"
By moving into extreme positions it has shown the problems with that and enabled some of the rest of us to avoid those pitfalls
Like the US Health system

Like Governance - the US is the only country that has managed to make your pattern of government work for any length of time
With that shining example to look at the vast majority of new democracies have chosen a Parliamentarian system

David Brin said...

I’ve discussed ad nauseam the real reasons why Pax Americana has been transformative and exceptional. I have had far more intelligent critics than limp-ent go at the assertion and none can show another era when world wide percapita progress was 1% as high or when most nations got to spend far more on development than on arms. But even those fellows were better than stooopid.

Missile bases in Romania? Anon leaves out that they are defensive missiles, set up to protect a NATO ally from air incursions that get worse every day.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

Green in Desert said...

I would have included William Kristol on your list with George Will and the rest.