Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Debate followup: Why 'fact-checking' won't work without... judo!

Okay okay. I give up. I’ll comment on the presidential debate...

First off, it appears that the press and punditry are overwhelmingly declaring Hillary the winner.  And certainly she was, in most ways, first by displaying fiercely intelligent grasp of policy issues. Second, she succeeded in drawing Donald Trump to avow smugness in his true record, a past riddled with predatory and dishonest business practices.  Reports tell of sample groups of undecided voters “gasping” when DT proudly claimed to be “smart” by paying little to no federal taxes on annual incomes in the $500 million range.

Still, I don't see it as a blowout. In fact, I am highly ticked off at Secretary Clinton, for a rather shallow performance. Too many times, she wallowed in a Sumo match with Trump over this or that line in the sand, instead of using Judo to send him flying.

== The fact-check trap ==

Oh, there are plenty of sober sites and individuals out there doing truthiness checks. (Some of the best were done by NPR , PolitiFact, and The New York Times.) As someone on Twitter quipped: "We're going to need a bigger Snopes."

Alas, early on, Hillary Clinton invited viewers to go to her own web-site to scan a real time truth inspection of the debate. Seriously? You expect that to sway undecideds? All it did was add weight to the notion that “facts” are a matter of partisan interpretation. Trump has been very effective telling his followers that when a site like CNN or Politico debunks one of his statements, it only means that they are members of a liberal, “lamestream” conspiracy.

What would be effective? Try the following:

“Okay Donald, you dismiss any fact-checking service as biased. Yet the American people need fact-checking they can rely on! So here’s a challenge. You appoint six sages whom you trust – august and respected Americans who will likely serve on your cabinet or as court appointments. I’ll do the same. And we’ll ask retired Supreme Court justices like Sandra Day O’Conner, most of them republican appointees, to pick another six.

“Those 18 folks will meet immediately to set up a truly non-partisan fact checking service, with a million dollars from my campaign and from yours, getting it up and running by the next debate. Come on, let’s get this done, Mr. Businessman! Let’s do it for the nation, on time and under budget!”

That sort of thing would corner him. If he refuses or stalls, that fact becomes instantly clear. If he appoints shills, then those twits will compare unfavorably to HC’s choices and O’Conner’s. And if he goes along, he’ll know he’s about to be fact-checked by a service partly of his own devising, designed from scratch to be impartial.

In fact, there are dozens of areas where Clinton and the dems could issue simple, direct and unavoidable challenges. For example, below I’ll offer one that would corner Trump regarding his tax return.

It is called jiu jitsu or judo.  And by now Clinton should be good at it.  Alas, she seems stuck in sumo mode. And I find that unimpressive.

== The Missing Elephant ==
Want more such off-angle perspectives? I got a million. Here’s one that’s simply gigantic. It’s… well… huge. I have to wonder – am I the only one who noticed the elephant that was missing from the room?  

Go ahead and do a word search in the debate transcript. Except for a couple of blithe, offhand references to bipartisanship and past officials who have defected to her, there were no uses or instances of the word "Republican." None by Clinton or Trump.
Indeed, if you scan the transcript, you'll find zero uses of the word "Congress," the other and equally important political branch of government that is at-stake in this election.  

This despite the fact that the Republican Party has dominated Congress for 20 of the last 22 years. Two decades of sullen, glowering indolence, during which role models like Dennis (convicted child molester) Hastert and Tom (convicted felon) DeLay transformed the world's greatest deliberative body into the nastiest and laziest in U.S. history, completely obedient to Fox chairman Roger (sexual predator) Ailes.

Sure, democrats have accused these and other GOP leaders of dogmatism in the past. But it is the laziness charge that I find sticks in even conservative voters’ craws. 

Seriously, who is advising Clinton to lay off Republicans? 

She could ask: what kind of party does not even mention its last two presidents, during their national convention? 

Indeed, tally up every GOP leader between Reagan and Ryan -- only one of them was even mentioned at the recent Republican National Convention! The words “Bush” and Hastert, DeLay, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gingrich, McConnell and so on are unutterable by Donald Trump, or any other Republican, so why does Hillary refrain?

Apparently, she has been advised not to go partisan because some moderate Republican voters might make a lifetime exception, hold their noses and vote for her instead of Trump. Also, Trump is ready with a comeback – “I’m a rebel against all those jerks who ran the party before me!”

Fine. Then use that!  The more he says it, the more he’ll undermine and anger down-ticket Republicans. It’s called judo.

Oh, this is stunning foolishness in several ways! 

(1) Because these associations will help, not hinder, her campaign to defeat Donald Trump. Moreover…

(2) Suppose she does win, but those same Republican voters then reward GOP down-ticket candidates, returning the Senate and House to GOP control. Then Hillary Clinton’s "honeymoon" as president will last three minutes and the rest will be a volcanic, accomplishment-free, living hell. There is only one way to prevent that, and to give the American people what they need, a functioning second branch of government filled with pragmatic, negotiating adults.

(3) Conservative Americans will benefit if their party is demolished – immolated - in 2016, giving them a couple of years to rebuild something that is not just another mad, sequel-froth of Bushes, Cheney, Trump, or Rupert Murdoch. Conservatives might come roaring back as a party of grownups, no longer sending us lazy, dogmatic, gerrymandering cheaters who wage war on science and every other knowledge profession in American life.

Hey, it could happen! Two years in the wilderness and you might achieve that wonder!  But first. Get out of the peoples’ house.  We have work to do.

== Tax returns ==

Clinton did really well exploiting Trump’s refusal to release tax returns, luring him into admitting – in fact proudly avowing – that he was “smart” to avoid helping pay for roads, schools and national defense. She’d have done better still by asking everyone in the audience if they paid any federal income tax last year, suggesting it was probably more than Donald Trump did on 694 million dollars.

And yet, DT can continue to weasel out by claiming the “IRS audit” dodge, leaving this a matter of (again) sumo pushing and shoving to sway the next 1% of voters.

How could it be done as judo? Simple:

“Donald, the IRS has said you can legally release your return during an audit, but you claim your lawyers forbid it. The IRS could choose to waive any audit, removing that excuse. But then you could scream they did it for ‘partisan reasons.’

“Fine, then how about you right now publicly ask:

(1) the IRS to confirm that you are currently under audit – (so far all we have is your word for it) – and

(2) the IRS to drop the audit, in the national interest, so you can release your returns before the election. By asking, you’ll let them do it without accusations of partisanship. I’ll be happy to go along with it, so the American people can find out what you’ve been up to.”

It’s another of those jiu jitsu challenges that would leave him cornered. How could he not ask to have the audit canceled and to get immunity for this year’s returns? Any excuse he made at that point would sound way beyond smarmy and contrived.

== Come on, Hill, stand up! ==

Sure I know your advisers are saying that the public is too angry to listen to good news.  That any attempt to brag over the country’s direction and gains will backfire on you.

They are dead wrong. You can find ways to combine “things are getting better” with “there’s a lot wrong that needs fixing.” You have tried to do that, I admit… and done miserably.

Sure, you offered one sentence about how crime has overall declined. A lot, since your husband was in office. One sentence. Almost as if you were embarrassed.

Sure, FBI crime data published Monday said violent crime rose slightly in 2015 but remains near record lows. A few hot spots like Chicago have surged with violent crime, but even in Chicago, it’s limited to a small number of neighborhoods. Yes, we have some degree of crisis. But cowering and whimpering and dividing Americans will not help. 

Hey how about mentioning how technology is empowering both good cops and citizens, and law and order should be a lot better, once we work out the kinks on this transparency thing.

(Oh, by the way. I don’t expect this as a debate point, but crime was highest in the southern United States, the report found. At 45.9 per 100,000 people, the murder and manslaughter rate in the region was more than twice as high as in the West, the Midwest and the Northeast, according to the FBI. Rates of rape, assault and property crime were dramatically higher as well.  Just saying. We do not need lectures from the Confederacy.)

I’m not done. There are so many other places to angrily (!) stand up, Hill. Like this travesty by DT:

Our energy policies are disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt.”

In fact:, as related by Scott Horsley in that NPR fact-check: ‘Domestic oil and gas production have increased steadily during President Obama’s time in office. The U.S. has been the world’s leading producer of natural gas since 2011 and the top producer of oil since 2013. The Energy Information Administration says gasoline prices averaged $2.17 a gallon last week — about a nickel cheaper than a year ago, and about 30 cents a gallon less than Obama’s first year in office, and about a buck and a half less than during George W. Bush’s last year in office.’

The Foxites have blocked sustainables at every turn. But they are arriving anyway. Arriving huge.

And I will offer further post-debate appraisals… more ways to do judo… next time.

== Continue to Part II: Fact-Checking the Presidential Debate

92 comments:

David Brin said...

I have to add that Clinton benefited from s sea change in the media. About two weeks ago, there was a sudden wave of revulsion at Trump's latest antics, and we saw most mainstream and most off center media finally conclude that they had no further obligation to pretend. No longer restricted to columns and editorial pages, now regular news article call blatantly untrue Trumpist declarations "lies."

It is interesting at a dozen levels... and kind of sad. It reflects something that my friends in the US senior military officer corps worry about, deeply. If someday they'll be forced - under a president Trump - to make similar choices... between a tradition of obedience to the commander in chief vs duty to the American people.

However they choose on such a day, we all lose.

Experiment626 said...

Fact check "the Republican Party has dominated Congress for 20 of the last 22 years. "
18 out of the last 22 years.

David Brin said...

Experiment626 it depends on your goal. Since the GOP goal is to accomplish nothing and pass no legislation, then controlling the House and not the Senate was almost as good as controlling both.

Experiment626 said...

I particularly liked that the debate was able to focus on Trump's taxes, income, father, '72 lawsuit, remarks as a reality tv star...& didn't waste much time on immigration, law and order, tax policy, or rebuilding the economy.

Experiment626 said...

David Brin, good point.
I probably should have said '18 out of the last 22 years'
or '12 out of the last 22 years.'

But since the Republicans originally took control of Congress based on a 'Contract with America' with which they followed, I have to view your goal quip as 'emotional' rather than 'factual'.

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

Experiment626: "...the Republicans originally took control of Congress based on a 'Contract with America' with which they followed..."

Really? We passed a Balanced Budget Amendment and I wasn't looking? Nope.

We did pass the "National Security Restoration Act" in 1995, which prevented any major terrorist attacks against America...oh wait, it didn't do a damn thing except protect Americans from UN peacekeepers and show that Republicans were more worried about the UN than they were about Saddam Hussein, WMD, Iran, or AQ. Priorities...

I can go on at length about the "tort reform," prison reform, and welfare reform proposals. But the Cato Institute (which is typically right-leaning libertarian, rather than hard rightwingers like AEI and Heritage) found that of the 95 major programs the contract called for cutting, their collective budgets had increased by 13%. A very strange notion of 'fulfilling the terms' of a contract.

donzelion said...

My assessment of the effect of the debate: yesterday, with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, the nearby golf course was full of golfers at the country club. Today, it was nearly empty (despite much better weather). Something has frightened the local rich.

I'd say Hillary's better off with aikido than judo: use his own words against him. As with the Alicia Machado line: flip Trump's 'strength' in beauty pageantry into a weakness of exploiting, hurting, bullying. Nicely done.

Same thing on taxes: "OK, smarty, here's the troops who suffered while you sat on your fat-ass and held back on paying your fair share."

Benghazi? "Well, we did request increased security detail, but didn't have a budget for it. Some rich folks have been holding out on paying..."

Successful businessman? "Had your Daddy just dumped all his money in a mutual fund and left it there, he'd have left you more money than you ever made. Except for that book you wrote. You did write it yourself, right?"

"Here are the textile manufacturers in America that weren't good enough for you back when you had to go all the way to Bangladesh to buy your ties. Was it really because you wanted good products? Or just workers earning 30-cents an hour?"

You can't corner him. You can make him eat his own words: trap him with his own 'strengths.'

But none of that will steer independents. They still think they need Hillary to prove herself to them - and she never will. There's been a $10 billion+ attack ad running against her for 24 years, and that can't be overcome through a debate.

David Brin said...

x626 thanks for reminding me about Gingrich’s Contract With America, which was one of the best bits of political polemic in decades. Note that Newt was just about the only Republican leader from the era between Reagan and Ryan who got a mention and a speech at the RNC. Which was sweet revenge, since Hastert & DeLay & Boehner & Ryan betrayed and ousted him.

Why? For the crime of actually NEGOTIATING with Bill Clinton some bills to benefit America. For that crime, violating the Hastert rule, he was sent into exile. The only sci fi author in Congress.

Textiles? Seriously. They are the FIRST industry to flee a nation as soon as workers get rights. That may change with robotics. But follow the mills from the north to the South, to Japan, then Taiwan and Korea, then Malaysia, then China then Bangladesh.

Jonathan Sills said...

The only problem, Dr. Brin, is that you've become too used to debating with civilized people such as your current audience. It would be impossible for Hillary Clinton, while in debate with Donald Trump, to complete an entire paragraph, much less your full proposal (no matter how closely-reasoned). Further, he and his followers would apparently have no compunctions about claiming the proposal to be a "trap"; after all, these are the same people today proclaiming that the Donald's prolonged sniffing was caused by "a faulty mic". (Sorry, Donnie, we didn't just hear you - we saw you. You were sniffing like a Hollywood exec snorting a line of coke off his desk.)

Peter Norvig said...

Heinlein had his "fair witness"; you've got your panel of 18, but I thinl it is still science fiction to suggest that the public will accept judgements from experts when the judgements contradict their preconceptions.

donzelion said...

"Textiles? Seriously. They are the FIRST industry to flee a nation as soon as workers get rights."

Textiles are one of the first industries to flee, but the people who profited from the flight should not be permitted to position themselves as the ones who will reverse it. Trump should not be able to get away in Ohio with telling folks he's going to protect their jobs, when he made his billions, at least in part, by overlooking most of them.

"But follow the mills from the north to the South, to Japan, then Taiwan and Korea, then Malaysia, then China then Bangladesh."
Ah, I thought you were going to start with the UK, where some of the first programs ever written were developed to operate those mills (as well as computing actuarial tables for pension funds).

David Brin said...

Peter N. Hi. And again, it is a matter of peeling away enough republicans to see their movement has gone nuts and turned into a revived confederacy. If the CSA can be reduced below 30% of the population, Fox could begin to bleed hard and the Union may again win.

Jumper said...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_African-American_population
This business of red states getting more and giving less could be turned on its head by bigots. "Of course," they could say.

Alfred Differ said...

@Donzelion: (from last thread) But it makes me feel good that even as politicians bash away at each other, and businessmen scramble to extract the next dollar - even so, many thousands (millions?) of scientists are painstakingly doing the real work that matters.

My epiphany came on the graduation floor when I looked at the robed grad students around me and realized we had all contributed to humanity's knowledge and then realized I was standing on only one of the graduation floors. All the other universities and colleges had their own graduating cadre too.

The second step to this epiphany came when I realized years later that many entrepreneurs count too and that they are much harder to count. Anyone solving a business problem is potentially innovating. While they might not kill off antibiotic resistant microbes, they might make the world richer and enable the next generation to produce more scientists who beat many more microbes because of their sheer numbers.

donzelion said...

Jumper: Bigots would have a difficult time backing such a flip up with facts.

The Atlantic had a fairly good piece about other ways to look at "getting more and giving less." There are others which parse actual per capita dependency racially: turns out there's a lot more white people receiving a lot more government money than most people recognize.

My favorite though is how much S. Carolina (which is about as red as they come) benefits from the federal government they claim to hate. For every dollar they put in, they get $8 back. A piece of me sort of wonders if it would have been such a bad thing if they had successfully seceded...the most important contribution they've made to America recently must have been Miss Teen South Carolina.

donzelion said...

Alfred: Again, pieces of me regret choices made decades ago that led to law, rather than science. I scored equally well in both, but enjoyed humanities and social sciences, and law, so I thought, might give me a chance to smack bullies around.

"Anyone solving a business problem is potentially innovating."
Potentially. I have no problem with entrepreneurs per se, but only with parasitic or predatory behavior. In a business context, a few predatory practices emerge with new technologies (various shades of snake oil salesmen), but the biggest problems tend to come from parasitic practices involving old technologies and necessities. A lot of the "innovation" in the latter amounts to little more than a better means of extracting greater rents from the same resources.

Alfred Differ said...

Clinton does mention the word 'Republican', but it is in one of her ads. It is the one that shows Republicans who are on record as not being supporters of Trump. In summary, it claims Trump is too dangerous... even for Republicans.

Alfred Differ said...

Do we actually know Trump is being audited by the IRS?

Surely he can produce something showing they are as he claims they are. It wouldn't have to involve financial details.

Instead of asking for his birth certificate, can't we ask for whatever form letter the IRS uses to inform someone they are being audited?

Alfred Differ said...

Regarding Clinton not taking certain paths, I suspect some of that had to do with the fact that this particular debate was supposed to focus on particular themes. I don't recall our domestic economy being one of them. Maybe she has material for a later event still in the silos.

donzelion said...

Alfred: IRS cannot confirm or deny the nature of an audit; Trump claims there is one, and has two lawyers who claim to be assisting him with one, but there's many different kinds of audits for an enterprise like Trump.

"can't we ask for whatever form letter the IRS uses to inform someone they are being audited?"
It was requested in August.

There's four main reasons Trump would refuse to release his returns:
(1) He doesn't have nearly the wealth he claims.
(2) He does things with his wealth that are very different from what he claims.
(3) He's afraid that his tax classifications used for certain assets (e.g., items listed as 'debts' that are now treated as 'securities') will enable counter-parties to change their treatment of those debts. That could cost him a lot of money; depending on what type of leverage, it could cost him everything.
(4) He's lied about something in the returns and is afraid that someone who knows the truth will come forward and refute them, creating tax and possibly criminal liability.

Whether or not there's an audit is irrelevant, EXCEPT to the extent Trump fears being called to testify in a tax enforcement proceeding and is afraid of taking a position for public consumption that he will have to 'explain' in a much more serious forum where he cannot control the proceedings.

Note that if it is (3) or (4), then Trump will never put his assets into a blind trust either.

Paul SB said...

I thought this little exchange from the debate was interesting:

HILLARY CLINTON
Well, let’s stop for a second and remember where we were eight years ago, we had the worst financial crisis - the great recession, the worst since the 1930s. That was, in large part, because of tax policies that slash taxes on the wealthy, failed to invest in the middle class, took their eyes off of Wall Street and created a perfect storm. In fact, Donald was one of the people who rooted for the housing crisis. He said, back in 2006, gee, I hope it does collapse because then I can go in and buy some and make some money. Well, it did collapse.

DONALD TRUMP
That called business, by the way.

Yep, good honest business!

It should be obvious from this that Trump has no interest in being president for any other reason than to line his own pockets. He's "doing business" profiteering from the misery of the American people. Uncle Hillary should have called him on this one, but I suspect she is so used to being scripted by her handlers that her response to off-the-cuff Trumpery was to just ignore it. This was a perfect opportunity for a riposte, so maybe it's her fencing skills that need tweaking.

On another matter, it looks like 626 hasn't returned, though I might be premature, here. The guy was making Dr. Jakuba look bad, anyway. If he comes back I'll start playing Name That Fallacy again...

LarryHart said...

Experiment626:

Fact check "the Republican Party has dominated Congress for 20 of the last 22 years. 18 out of the last 22 years.


Dr Brin:

Experiment626 it depends on your goal. Since the GOP goal is to accomplish nothing and pass no legislation, then controlling the House and not the Senate was almost as good as controlling both.


Heck, for their purposes, having 41 Senators who could filibuster everything was sufficient.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

I have to add that Clinton benefited from s sea change in the media. About two weeks ago, there was a sudden wave of revulsion at Trump's latest antics, and we saw most mainstream and most off center media finally conclude that they had no further obligation to pretend. No longer restricted to columns and editorial pages, now regular news article call blatantly untrue Trumpist declarations "lies."


I'd like to think the media came to its senses on values.

What I do believe is exactly what I predicted--the media wants a horse-race, and Trump's momentum had to be halted just as Clinton's had to be after her convention bounce.

Of course, in the words of "The Simpsons" Mayor Quimby: "It can be two things."

Anonymous said...

Establishment establishes establishment candidate? Oh stop the presses! And dodging taxes? This is as apple as American stroad——one need only look to corporations engaging in such sweet deals of Delaware, Ireland or Luxembourg, or otherwise shopping around. A typical race to the bottom for those hidebound to Mammon.

Ahh, wailing on the republican strawman this time around. I suppose your fabled 6000 year feudalist is in the shop for repairs?

Technology is great, especially when all \textit{italicised}--I say, in the interests of transparency, do you hold any stocks for camera or security companies?--but I don't see how the police etc. blinged out with cameras (and associated IT and resource and Carbon burn costs) will in any way address the root causes of let's see, minimum wage rent-a-cops spread out over far too much strip mall and particle board sprawl whose minimum wage residents hate said cops. Yep, technology gonna fix that good. You betcha.

"Foxites have blocked sustainables at every turn." Far too simplistic as ever; look to wind power growth in the rather Republican Texas.

LarryHart said...

Experiment626:

I particularly liked that the debate was able to focus on Trump's taxes, income, father, '72 lawsuit, remarks as a reality tv star...& didn't waste much time on immigration, law and order, tax policy, or rebuilding the economy.


I suspect you don't blame the same candidate that I do for that state of affairs.

LarryHart said...

Johnathan Sills:

Further, he [Trump] and his followers would apparently have no compunctions about claiming the proposal to be a "trap";


Donald Trump is beginning to remind me of Tonya Harding, crying that she needed a re-do because her skates came untied.

But there's something more insidious than funny about the meme that when reality makes Trump look bad, then reality is biased, and the corolary that the only people qualified to judge him fairly are his fervent supporters.

Dr Brin, I hope you remember the scene in "Sundiver" where (I think it was) the female captain of the ship is conversing with cute, teddy-bearish Bubbacub, and the realization slowly dawns on her that "This sophont is dangerous." Likewise, Trump, and We The People ignore that at our peril.


after all, these are the same people today proclaiming that the Donald's prolonged sniffing was caused by "a faulty mic". (Sorry, Donnie, we didn't just hear you - we saw you. You were sniffing like a Hollywood exec snorting a line of coke off his desk.)


Ordinarily, I'd forgive the guy for having a cold, which could happen to anyone. But since he made such hay over Hillary's illnesses, I'll say it served him right in this case.

David Brin said...

Wind power growth in Texas has been entirely for capitalistic reasons of profit, which is great! I am MORE a promoter of Adam Smith than any of the hypocrites on the US right who drop to their knee, mouths open before oligarchs.

For this anonymous cowards to yammer and yammer distractions from the plain fact that the mad right has sabotaged energy research, sabotaged efficiency standards including cars (which are working spectacularly well), sabotaged sustainables, sabotaged science and every knowledge profession at every turn.

Dig it coward-hypocrite, the numbers say it all:

1) ALL knowledge professions have fled the GOP in droves. ALl but finance whizzes and doctors of divinity.

2) OUTCOMES across DP administrations are so dazzlingly better than RP admin outcomes that it takes a hysterical delusional dogmatist to ignore the blatant implications of cause and effect:
http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

You are a moron, sir. And your silly fox tricks do not work here. Increasingly they are not working among those loyal to the Union, in this civil war.

Experiment626 said...

Larry Hart, to honest I wouldn't call 41 Senators 'domination' and having 60 Senators happened for only a brief time during the Obama administration. I wouldn't call merely being able to block legislation as being domination either. In my opinion both sides were blocking legislation. The House voted on bills passed by the Senate, how many bills passed by the House did Harry Reid allow a vote upon?

Paul, Dr. Jukabu? 'Name That Fallacy'? I don't follow.

Donzelion, Or the simplest explanation.
5. His tax return really is 2,000 pages. After seeing Hillary's e-mail picked apart, he realizes that the media will criticize every line. That would put him on the defensive. So far I haven't seen The Donald enjoy playing defense, he usually likes to double down on offensive even when his position seems untenable.

And on the 'Contract with America', they only promised to vote on the bills within 100 days. They didn't promise to pass them, let alone that they would be good for the country. We have low expectations in this country. By the way, we did have a couple of balanced budgets with Clinton/Gringrich. I don't know if Brin is right in that got him fired, it seems that comprise/caving more likely had the more recent Republican leaders fired (by the voters.)

Regarding polls, I basically agree. Having worked for a polling company, polls released to the public are intended to make news. I suspect that internal polling shows Clinton with a wide lead in swing states.

raito said...

Last night, PBS had on a documentary biography paralleling the lives of Clinton and Trump. Not that I need another reason to not vote for him, but the connection to Roy Cohn wasn't something I'd known previously. At least the top google results are only for 2016 articles. So I don't feel quite so woefully behind. But it does explain a lot about how he operates, doesn't it?

The rest is only quibbles, don't take it too seriously.

I'm with the crowd that thinks you won't ever pin Trump down, though you might make it obvious to many. Not his most fervent supporters. Doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried, though.

I do prefer the idea of aikido to judo for this, unless the idea of using the judo metaphor includes pinning someone. Too many times, I see judo matches ending with both players rolling on the ground, regardless of who did the throwing (something that also happens too often in politics). I don't think that was Dr. Kano's intent.

And sumo is far more than two fat guys belly-bucking in diapers. I actually prefer watching it to judo these days. Last weekend was a sumo first -- an ozeki winning the basho while kadoban (high ranked wrestler winning the tournament while in danger of losing his rank). A large number of sumo kimarite (winning techniques) are nearly identical to judo throws. One thing about sumo that I'd like to see in our elected officials is that the top guys can change their strategy in an instant. Watch some of the slo-mo replays, because you'd miss it at normal speed. Pushing isn't working? Then pull! Feel the balance move? Then throw! And act politely and with manners at all times (even when the other guy slaps you at the start). To be fair, the best judo players do this, too (it's the scoring of judo I don't like).

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin quotes Trump:

"Our energy policies are disaster. Our country is losing so much in terms of energy, in terms of paying off our debt.”


If a Republican president is elected, there will be one bitterly-tiny consolation prize. It will be fun to watch the Republican Party line switch on a dime to Cheney's "Deficits don't matter". They'll look just like that guy in "1984" who switched in mid-sentence to "We've always been at war with Eastasia" without batting an eyelash.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Instead of asking for his birth certificate, can't we ask for whatever form letter the IRS uses to inform someone they are being audited?


Talk about jiu-jitsu. I think the "What is he hiding?" meme should be pushed as hard as possible. "You hounded President Obama to release his document ion for years!"

But the speculative part of me wonders if hounding someone else about a birth certificate was actually cover for something he doesn't want revealed from his own birth certificate. "Since I'm Mr Birther, no one will think to ask about mine."

LarryHart said...

Experiment626:

I wouldn't call 41 Senators 'domination'
...
I wouldn't call merely being able to block legislation as being domination either.


As Dr Brin says, it depends what you're trying to accomplish. If you're trying to pass legislation, then no, of course not. If you're trying to block legislation, then 41 lock-step Senators can do so at will.


In my opinion both sides were blocking legislation. The House voted on bills passed by the Senate, how many bills passed by the House did Harry Reid allow a vote upon?


How many were filibustered? Does that happen before or after an actual vote is called?


and having 60 Senators happened for only a brief time during the Obama administration.


I'm not sure how that makes your point, but thanks for admitting it. Most people think that President Obama had both houses of congress to back him up for most of his first two years. Those 41 senators could prevent anything they wanted, which was virtually everything. And even when there were 60 "Democratic" Senators (including Dem-leaning Independents", Joe Lieberman and whatshisname Manschin and that guy from Nebraska weren't always on board either.

Jumper said...

"Republicans should be forced to carry their candidate to term, Even when the life of the party is in danger." -- LeAnne Lyons

LarryHart said...

Apropos nothing about Trump, but I thought this was funny.

Remember Gary Johnson's "What is Aleppo?" moment? That champion from Jeopardy (Ken Jennings?) made the comment that "At least he answered in the form of a question!"

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

"Republicans should be forced to carry their candidate to term, Even when the life of the party is in danger."


Heh. Thanks for the spit-take. It took me a bit to figure out the context, but then it was milk out the nose!

Darrell E said...

"Why 'fact-checking' won't work without... judo!

I think your suggestions are excellent and I think that there may be enough people, undecideds, who are susceptible to being convinced to vote for Hillary rather than Trump to make a difference in the outcome of the election. But I am not sure. Many Trump supporters (heck, people in general) will simply not be convinced by any number of facts or revelations of incompetence or unethical / illegal behavior to change their minds.

Trump has admitted (and sometimes later claimed he didn't) or implied that he engaged in business practices ranging from shady to illegal, and plenty of hard evidence from the beginning of his career to the present reveal much more of the same. He is, very evidently, exactly the type of business person that Adam Smith warned was inimical to fair markets. He is exactly the type of liar, cheater and stealer that necessitates regulation lest they poison the market. The problem with convincing Trump supporters that they should change their minds about voting for him is that a significant percentage of them admire him precisely because of those traits. When Trump said "That makes me smart," many of his supporters didn't cringe, they cheered.

LarryHart said...

@Darrell E:
Trump-leaners won't be swayed by evidence that Trump's behavior violates social norms, or even laws. What they might be swayed by is evidence that Trump would actually be detrimental to their (the voters') agenda in ways that he pretends to favor.

Darrell E said...

LarryHart,

I'm sure some Trump supporters could be swayed. But a significant number? I hope so, but I am not sure. For more than half of my voting life Republicans have held the White House and, certainly in the later half of that time period, the majority of the people that voted Republican voted against their own best interests despite the fact that the information convincingly showing that was readily available to anyone who cared to look. That kind of thing isn't unique to recent US politics of course, it has happened all through human history.

David Brin said...

x626 you are polite and thoughtful but delusional. Gingrich negotiated the Budget Act and Welfare Reform with Clinton… highly successful and popular with massive positive outcomes… and Hstert waged war on Gingrich, immediately instating the Hastert rul, that Fox would punish any GOPper who ever again negotiated in good faith with a democrat, or who disagreed with any talking point issued by Roger Ailes.

BTW… all of the aforementioned - Ailes & Hastert - sexual predators.

donzelion said...

Experiment626: [re: why Trump won't release his tax forms]
"5. His tax return really is 2,000 pages. After seeing Hillary's e-mail picked apart, he realizes that the media will criticize every line. That would put him on the defensive. So far I haven't seen The Donald enjoy playing defense, he usually likes to double down on offensive even when his position seems untenable."

If this is the 'reason' then you've accused Trump of cowardice. He is afraid of confronting what Hillary goes through routinely (and has gone through for decades). I prefer to think there's a reason beyond "Nah, I'm too much of a wimp to let people see anything real about me."

"By the way, we did have a couple of balanced budgets with Clinton/Gringrich."
We did indeed, and that too required cooperation from both sides of government. Republicans in the '90s had a 'crazy' faction, and a 'responsible' faction. The latter side has withered ever since. Trump is as much as symptom of the problem as he is a problem himself.

donzelion said...

A tidbit or two on the "Trump Magic" - a Charleston, South Carolina vacant warehouse abandoned by one of Trump's companies. South Carolinans will, by and large, vote for Trump anyway, despite stiffing them and walking away. Who cares?

Arizona Republic backed Hillary Clinton - the first time that they've backed a Democrat since their founding in 1890. Not that that will sway any voters in Arizona, which Trump will probably win anyway. Who cares?

Alt4, Redditors, and 400-pound hackers (whom Trump mocked and fat-shamed before 84 million people) STILL support him enough to try to game every online, unscientific poll they could after the debate. They don't care that he mocks them. It's fun to back the guy who thinks you're a fat slob.

Abortion rights activists? Back him, simply because he's not Hillary. Who cares if Trump actually supported abortion rights up until he ran as a Republican.

And on, and on....the mindset here is incredibly disturbing.

A.F. Rey said...

This cartoon pretty much sums up the debate for me:

http://theweek.com/cartoons/651490/political-cartoon-2016-election-hillary-clinton-donald-trump-quantum-politics

LarryHart said...

@DarrelE

Again, it depends just what falsehood is perceived by the Trump-leaning voters.

If they're voting for Trump because they think he's going to prevent outsourcing, and then it's obvious that he would promote outsourcing, that might change minds. If they're voting for Trump because they think he'll overturn gay marriage, and then it looks as if he's fine with gay marriage, that might change minds.

Tangentially, I've heard right-wingers complain that Trump is a "liberal", while Bernie Bros and such complain that Hillary is too much of a right-winger. I wonder if it occurs to those making either complaint why the opposite party isn't thrilled with the candidate they are complaining about. If those views were accurate, Hillary should be running as a Republican and Trump as a Democrat, and both would be overwhelmingly popular with their adopted party.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Abortion rights activists? Back him, simply because he's not Hillary. Who cares if Trump actually supported abortion rights up until he ran as a Republican.


We've mentioned here before that evangelicals support Trump, not because they think he's one of them, but because they think he's "their guy" who will back their agenda in return for their loyalty. They don't care what Trump personally believes about abortion as long as he appoints "consitutionalist justices" who will find in the words of the Founding Fathers that "whole number of persons" means "eligible voters and unborn fetuses".

My personal fantasy (if Trump is somehow elected) is that he royally screws them over and appoints Barack Obama to the Supreme Court just because it's funny.

Berial said...

LarryHart said: We've mentioned here before that evangelicals support Trump, not because they think he's one of them, but because they think he's "their guy" who will back their agenda in return for their loyalty.

The thing is, there is a lot of evidence that 'evangelicals' got heavily involved in politics NOT because of Roe v Wade but because of school desegregation. If that is the ultimate reason why then it makes a lot of sense that Trump is 'their guy'.

matthew said...

Off topic but pertinent to long-time conversations here:

Slate has an interesting rundown on why we are seeing negative interest rates as high as 29% (German gov't bonds) and why the ultra-rich are refusing to fund new enterprises and engaging in rent-seeking behaviors.

Very worthwhile read.

http://www.slate.com/articles/business/the_next_20/2016/09/saving_glut_and_the_failure_of_capital_in_the_21st_century.html

David Brin said...

Trump should realize that his backers will support him despite ANYTHING he says, because he shares their hate. Hillary is a devoted Methodist who teaches bible study. DT is a phlandering gambling lord, cheater, liar with ties to organized crime. But he hates the same enemies and that is all they need.

Knowing this, he should have veered to the center. I am sure he intended to but he surrounded himself with GOP factotums and Roger Ailes and Giuliani. No center veer, after all.

He could have served his country by choosing TWO standard Fox catechisms to disavow. Climate change and Supply Side. And we'd remember he saved us. Even losing.

Sigh. I was dreaming.

David Brin said...

PS the fact that DT would let Ailes et al sway him from doing the obvious is indicative of a very weak inner personality, which comes as no shock given his prickly narcissism. It's all kinda sad. But the thing he can do for America is to get ten million republicans to get drunk and stay home, election day.

Neo Tuxedo said...

For more than half of my voting life Republicans have held the White House and, certainly in the later half of that time period, the majority of the people that voted Republican voted against their own best interests despite the fact that the information convincingly showing that was readily available to anyone who cared to look.

John Michael Greer (or, as I prefer to call him, JOHN MICHAEL GREER'S GODLIKE PERSPECTIVE) would say that they were voting their values rather than their interests, and that this is something liberals taught them to do. In fact, to the best of my ability to decipher it, this is basically what he says in his latest post:

http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2016/09/the-coming-of-postliberal-era.html

From our perspective, of course (or at least from mine), it looks like they are voting neither their values nor their interests*, but merely their irritable mental gestures. If I had it to do all over again, I'd have become a teacher. If enough people had, we might now have a populace educated enough to fall for neither the Vulgar Talking Yam's BS nor the Archdruid's "branch-gnawing Archaic Revival"** okeydoke.

(* "I now see that I spent most of my life in doing neither what I ought nor what I liked." -- one of Screwtape's patients, quoted in letter 12
** Warren Ellis, "Food Stories")

LarryHart said...

Berial:

The thing is, there is a lot of evidence that 'evangelicals' got heavily involved in politics NOT because of Roe v Wade but because of school desegregation. If that is the ultimate reason why then it makes a lot of sense that Trump is 'their guy'.


I've heard that before--maybe it was even from you. If that's the case, though, doesn't it mean that the faction we're discussing is not so much "evangelical" as "white separatist"? Or do they really believe that Jesus doesn't want their kids to go to school with black kids?

Dale Pontius said...

I showed this to my wife, and she takes exception to the fact that you capitalized "Republican(s)" consistently, but the one time you used "democrats" it was not capitalized. My wife is a bit of a grammar/language fiend.

By the way, she's also READY for Hillary! We've also turned election this year into a family holiday, she's planning on dressing up to vote, we're going out to dinner after, and home for election coverage.

Personally I have some points of disagreement with HRC, but she's competent and not a nut-job like the alternative. She's also playing to history and knows it. She's not taking the office to show up as a crash'n'burn in the history books.

Jumper said...

Dale, Brin adheres fiercely to the AP Manual of Style, so... uh... urk HAHAHAHAH, sorry, I couldn't keep a straight face...

Experiment626 said...

Larry: "How many were filibustered? Does that happen before or after an actual vote is called?"
Harry Reid didn't bring up House bills for a vote. Once a bill is brought before the Senate then it can be filibustered. Once the Senate votes to cut off debate then the actual vote takes place.

"I'm not sure how that makes your point"
Actually I was commenting on your point. But since you were keeping score Obama did have a filibuster proof Congress that never happen during for a Republican administration. That of course led to the bill we needed to pass in order to find out what was in it.

Paul SB said...

Experiment 626,

“Paul, Dr. Jukabu? 'Name That Fallacy'? I don't follow.”

I must have spelled that one wrong. It was early, and it has been many years since either of my kids were watching Lilo & Stitch. So sorry, it should have been Dr. Jookiba, the creator of Experiment 626.

Name that Fallacy is just saying that your logic can be shredded as easily as facts checked. In fact, the main point of Dr. Brin’s post is that fact-checking in and of itself is not enough. You have to fight rhetoric with rhetoric. Too many people these days are extremists where political matters are concerned, and extremists don’t listen to facts. They rationalize inconvenient facts away, deny facts, minimize their relevance in their own minds, but most of all, they isolate themselves from dissenting views. They live in echo chambers, where everyone spouts the same things and high-fives one another any time they find a slightly more clever way to ram the same tired clich├ęs down other people’s throats.

What it boils down to is having the same set of unexamined assumptions, one of which is the assumption that their perspective is the only valid one, and anyone who disagrees is no better than walking, talking excrement. I grew up in a place of such extremes, but I escaped the echo chamber. The only thing I really miss is the trees.

Here’s a youtube video I found the other night that will give you an idea of what I mean by Name that Fallacy. It’s kind of long, and if I had made it I would probably have done it a little differently. At the very least, I would have tried to lighten it up with a little humor, though I would probably need some coaching there myself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2CxDu7jiyE

This one focuses on Donald Dunk, but you can do this to anyone, and it makes them look like fools. Shrug! Most people are, and I am not excluding myself on that account. We all muddle through, though some muddle better than others.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

I love your idea of Obama becoming a Supreme Court Justice. I deeply doubt the Trumpeter would do that, but I was wondering what would happen to the guy once he was termed out. Maybe he would emulate Carter and become a world-renowned diplomat, which is entirely possible, and would be better than just fading into the sunset. He has too solid an intellect, even if his presidency didn't live up to our expectations, mainly for reasons beyond his control. America could use some smart people in high office. Stubbornness is no substitute for actual acumen. In fact, it would be a lasting victory, since he could act as a life-long thorn in the sides of the social troglodytes who are constantly trying to make scapegoats and take away their rights.

Paul SB said...

Neo Tuxedo,

You said: "If I had it to do all over again, I'd have become a teacher."
To which I say, I am a teacher, and believe me, teachers have a lot less power than society ascribes to them. Yes, I have a platform. I see around 150-180 children every year, and a majority of them don't believe a word I say because I am the teacher. It has gotten better over the years. I've even become a fairly popular teacher in recent years. But you are constrained by the many, disparate forces that drive public school teachers to drink, drive, freak and ultimately early graves (I've managed to avoid the first three, but if my body's reaction to the latest flu is any indication, I am not yet 50 with a decade older metabolism/immune system.) I don't know what paths your life has taken, but I would not suggest going starry-eyed over the teaching career you didn't take. : /

Or maybe I'm just channeling my Inner Eeyore.

Kal Kallevig said...

LarryHart and Berial:

I grew up among evangelicals and though that was a long time ago I don't think any of them was likely to now be a white supremacist. Many of them were quite insular but those I knew were (almost) equal opportunity haters. For example, my maternal grandmother would only allow my mother to date Norwegian boys, no Swedes or Germans need apply. By the time I was a late teenager my cousin brought home a Japanese bride and after a bit of hard swallowing she was welcomed into the family, mostly.

Some of them do like DT though. It is beyond me, but it is not white supremacy.

LarryHart said...

@Kal Kallevig

I didn't say "white supremacist". I said "white separatist". Someone who believes the races belong segregated from each other.

What I'm trying to understand is, if evangelicals are politically motivated by the issue of school integration, what exactly do they perceive about that issue that is described by the word "evangelical"?

Paul SB said...

Kal,

For the most part I think you are right. Many have mellowed out on the kind of ethnic/racist hatreds that were more the norm in our youth, but I would say that they still share a set of assumptions that includes all people, but only if they think, talk, dress and otherwise behave exactly like them. I have known Evangelical African-Americans, but they very carefully cultivate a mainstream accent, diction, habits of dress and pretty much every aspect of life. Other African-American mutual acquaintances call them "white-washed." Evangelicals are mostly okay if your body has characteristics you were born with that differ from there's (they see genetics as God's choice), but you have to conform in every other way that they would consider to be an individual's choice. If you choose to listen to NWA and wear baggy shorts and t-shirts, you are not welcome in their club.

Paul SB said...

Larry,
I can't speak for Kal, but in my experience (there were a lot of Evangelicals where I grew up), certain cadres of them focused on the Children of Ham, the Old testament story of Noah's cursed son, the supposed ancestor of all "black" people. Just as Eve's sin makes all women irredeemably evil in their minds, Noah's Curse makes all the "darkies" permanently evil. Now this sentiment is not shared by all (they were mostly referred to as "Fundies" until the middle of the 90's). But those who bought into the Noah's Curse argument would see it as vital that their children not be exposed to "corruption" in integrated schools.

donzelion said...

Re Obama on the Supreme Court (Larry, Paul SB) - that's what I think today's veto override was all about, really.

Obama was on the correct side of the JASTA debate, the side of law and security that is best for the country. No politician will take that side who needs to be reelected, mind you, but anyone who ever dealt with intelligence services recognizes what was just lost is far more important than the money (that will never be gained) by the families of the victims.

For us to kill Osama bin Laden, we needed Pakistani intelligence officials to hand us information (yes, I know Hollywood says otherwise, but that's about as reliable as the science of Star Wars). It did not happen when we did this on our own, and it could not have happened left to our own resources. Those same officials who helped us are now exposed to legal liability...this will chill that cooperation.

Congress waited until Obama's last days in office to dump this on him, in part as a reelection play (not that they'll get any real traction from it), but mainly to tar his record and try to render him 'unsuitable' for the highest court, whether Hillary offers him a seat out of respect, or Trump as a joke. Ugh.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: If I recall correctly, the old Dixiecrats merged into an evangelical group in the south. Both had reasons for separation of the races and both wound up in the GOP. I'm not sure we can tell them apart anymore.

Alfred Differ said...

I've been enjoying the last couple of days watching pundits deal with the debate results. For shows that do re-runs, I watch once with the sound up and once with the sound down in order to parse body language. The believers stand out from the mouthpieces this way, I think.

My goodness, though, how far Lou Dobbs has gone into blind faith. I think he is a believer in Trump and a believer in cherry-picked polling data because he can't face Trump not winning. The other night he had the most skewed chart I've seen in a long time regarding electoral college probabilities. If I were to believe it, I'd say Trump has this in the bag. Pfft!

I used to watch Dobbs years ago, but now he seems like a different man. Did aliens abduct him and swap in a puppet?

donzelion said...

LarryHart/Paul SB - The "Children of Ham" goes back primarily to the Antebellum South - it's real, but among fundies (or white separatists), it's fringe. From my experience, driving most of the 'separatists' isn't a racial animus per se, but a sense of being besieged by "the world and its worldly ways."

Not just 'desegregation' - but the end of school prayer, evolution, sex education, abortion, communism (esp. anything FDR proposed)...Elvis is an anagram for 'EVILS' - there are 4 Beatles, just like he 4 horsemen of the apocalypse!...homosexuals...feminists...and on, and on. The sense is that they're under siege and must separate themselves from the world, but they can't separate themselves from the world, so they must channel their fury somewhere.

"if evangelicals are politically motivated by the issue of school integration, what exactly do they perceive about that issue that is described by the word "evangelical"?"
That is actually a second source of cognitive dissonance. Most 'evangelicals' know what the word means, but shy away from actually proselytizing (someone might laugh at you and call you weird, and that would be persecution). Thus, 'know the good you ought to do' - 'don't do it' - and then 'crawl back into a protective shell until you are capable of doing the right you haven't done yet.' It's a pretty painful state, and fertile ground for anger.

One curious thing is how the rudders on that anger operate, and who operates them. Why this child molester? Why that drunkard? Why this drug addict, and not some other? Why Trump?

Paul SB said...

Donelion,
Your assessment of the siege mentality among fundies (and many other fringe movements, not just religious ones) is consistent with my experience out on the Great Plains. I mentioned the Children of Ham argument because I have heard it leveled many times, including at myself (my skin is pure North Sea ruddy caucasoid, but I have been corrupted by the fact that I allowed one of the "degenerates" into my home when he lost his job and his apartment with it, then again when I put up another for a few days while he applied for music school and had to stay for auditions). At the time I was pointed to web sites that reinterpreted South African fossil hominids (like Swartkranz) as "degenerated" descendants of Ham. A few years ago I tried looking up those web sites again to show my students, but they were gone, and I could not find any similar dreck along the same lines. So I think you are right that today it has become fringeworthy, where a couple decades ago it was more prominent. I see this as progress.

As far as evangelicals being afraid to evangelize, that depends a lot on where you are. Evangelicals have been making huge inroads in Latin America, and some of their victims have ended up here. Where I teach it is majority Latin, and still more Catholic than anything else, but I run into quite a few Evangelicals.

"One curious thing is how the rudders on that anger operate, and who operates them. Why this child molester? Why that drunkard? Why this drug addict, and not some other? Why Trump?"

My guess would be Chaos Theory. ; )

donzelion said...

Paul SB - One curious thing is how the rudders on that anger operate, and who operates them. Why this child molester? Why that drunkard? Why this drug addict, and not some other? Why Trump?

"My guess would be Chaos Theory. ; )"
A better explanation than the work of demons.

That said, I am (a) reading an interesting neurosurgeon's explanation for how the mental structures work, while (b) re-watching the Exorcist, and (c) starting to get some ideas...

David Brin said...

Not sure I see this over-ride of Obama’s veto as a “defeat.” As chief of government, he had to oppose it. But putting the Saudis on notice that they no longer run the US was a significant step. They need to wake up and realize their fantasies could be lethal.

Or cost a lot.

Alfred Differ said...

@Donzelion: Congress waited until Obama's last days in office to dump this on him, in part as a reelection play (not that they'll get any real traction from it), but mainly to tar his record [snip]

I can see the re-election play, but not the tarring of his record. Too many Senators voted to override for this to be about harming him.

This is election politics. Congressional election politics.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "But putting the Saudis on notice that they no longer run the US was a significant step."

There's a topic we haven't crossed about for months! Again: Saudis never ran the U.S. Not our politics, and in terms of corporate influence, they "run" Murdoch about as much as they "run" Elon Musk, Donald Trump, Google, Citibank, or Goldman Sachs (they've invested comparable amounts into each of them, but only Murdoch gets singled out on the fallacy that "all things I dislike must be united").

Intelligence frequently requires "flipping" a foreign government official, whose information is mainly valuable to the extent that this official "knows" some bad people. Killing or weakening monsters is occasionally justified; doing so requires mingling with lesser monsters. It is far more likely that an ambitious or corrupt or negligent Pakistani ISI officer leaked OBL's location than that CIA officers "missed" something from 2001 and forgot about following up on it for a decade. JASTA makes it far less likely such a person could help us, since both the CIA officer handling such a foreign source, and the foreign source himself, may be called to testify (or worse, do so intentionally, and disclose things best kept sealed).

"They need to wake up and realize their fantasies could be lethal. Or cost a lot."
Alas, the ones who have woken up will be those most hurt by this law. More of them have woken up than you realize. A different set believes that the best way to take power is to induce America to eradicate the Saudis: a multi-trillion dollar judgment against them won't bring them down, but it will make them weaker - and it's when they're weakest that the radicals gain the most strength and plot their most dastardly attacks.

donzelion said...

Alfred: I doubt it's a particularly powerful play for Congressional races in 2016: pretty much every candidate on each side will disagree with Obama. If they thought it would move the needle, they'd have done this before summer to make it an issue throughout the campaign season. But it won't move the needle.

No, it's all about legacy. If Republicans lose the Senate majority and the White House, they'll be able to hang this on Obama's neck for years. When Hillary disagrees with Obama on JASTA, if she turns around and nominates him a few years later, the banner they'll fly will read "He dishonored the victims of 9/11 and sought to deprive them of justice!"

So it's their 'trump' card to poison his legacy.

Tacitus2 said...

I concur, a veto over ride should never be regarded as a personal insult. As head of one co-equal branch of government the President can and should say "I think this is a bad idea". But should go on to say that it is the job of Congress to express the will of their constituents in this fashion. And election year nonsense aside I believe you would find that the option of holding the Saudi's accountable for some of the Wahabi madness they have encouraged meets with broad approval in the US. For our friend, enemies and various shades in between this civics lesson would be salutary. Very few places have the concept of decision making by anybody other than Leader or in some cases Party.

Now here is a question that has not been asked yet. If there is a narrow Democratic majority in the Senate will the current ""gentleman's""* agreement to keep the filibuster for Supreme Court appointments be scrapped? This speaks to the difference between a Republic and a Democracy. In the latter a majority of 50% plus one vote Rules. Before jumping too eagerly onto that bandwagon one should also consider the less likely, but in this fever season possible, prospect of a Trump Presidency and a narrow GOP Senate majority. Would/should the filibuster be scrapped in that circumstance so as to tell the (D) minority party to "sod off"?

Tacitus

*double quotation marks. Not all Senators are men. And by no stretch are all of them gentlemen.

Paul SB said...

Donzelion,

That article was a good one - I would recommend it to other people. It surprised me 0% that it started out with the Dunning-Kruger Effect. Boiled down, it's that stupid people are too stupid to realize how stupid they are, which meshes with old quips about the correlation between ignorance and arrogance (as well as explaining some of our bridge-lurkers - uh-oh, here I go again!). The article stayed pretty non-technical, referring to only one brain structure (the amygdala) and no neurotransmitters. It did seem to conflate the amygdala with the brain generally at one point, though, saying that the brains of Trump supporters just key in to certain things without the thinking filter. The point about hypersensitivity to threat among conservative people was also a really relevant point, and it made the correlation with religion and politics well enough.

The article still doesn't address your question as to why this specific con-artist.

As to Te Exorcist, I honestly have never sat down and watched the entire movie. I just don't like scary movies. When I watch movies I usually want to laugh, not be stressed, so I am not as sensitive to epinephrine as I am to anandamide (and yet I was never tempted by weed.)

Berial said...

I am sorry to have disrupted the conversation as much as I did with regards to the evangelical comment above.

I tend to lump evangelicals into the 'religious right' when I'm in a hurry and that's not fair to the evangelicals. There are PLENTY of evangelicals that would be considered 'left', and do a lot of real outreach and help to minorities in this country and others.

The phrase I SHOULD have used was 'religious right'. The religious right movement seems to have a LOT of white supremacy built into it, and while they do have an intersection with evangelicals in general, they aren't the same thing at all.

Here is a source of some of what I was talking about wrt the Roe v Wade and desegregation. I have no doubt that the 'religious right' dislikes RvW but that was initially just a cover for what they really disliked.

Again, sorry. That was my mistake.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

I can see the re-election play, but not the tarring of his record. Too many Senators voted to override for this to be about harming him.

This is election politics. Congressional election politics.


So was Hillary's Iraq vote. Just sayin'

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

in my experience (there were a lot of Evangelicals where I grew up), certain cadres of them focused on the Children of Ham, the Old testament story of Noah's cursed son, the supposed ancestor of all "black" people. Just as Eve's sin makes all women irredeemably evil in their minds, Noah's Curse makes all the "darkies" permanently evil.


Because it was his fault that his drunk father passed out naked where Ham could stumble into seeing him?

Sounds to me like a rationalization for persecuting a certain race rather than a reason for it.

BTW, if the first sin was Eve's then why wasn't she expelled from the Garden of Eden? :)

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I believe you would find that the option of holding the Saudi's accountable for some of the Wahabi madness they have encouraged meets with broad approval in the US. For our friend, enemies and various shades in between this civics lesson would be salutary.


While not disagreeing with you, I did note that this morning's Wall St Journal carried the story of the veto override and the story that OPEC has reached a consensus on cutting production (i.e., increasing gas prices). I doubt those two items are unrelated.

Not to say that the measure was wrong, but just be ready to face the inevitable consequences.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Before jumping too eagerly onto that bandwagon one should also consider the less likely, but in this fever season possible, prospect of a Trump Presidency and a narrow GOP Senate majority. Would/should the filibuster be scrapped in that circumstance so as to tell the (D) minority party to "sod off"?


I would almost guarantee that the Republicans would do that, irrespective of what the Democrats do or don't do. Especially if Trump is the president.

LarryHart said...

PaulSB:

As to Te Exorcist, I honestly have never sat down and watched the entire movie. I just don't like scary movies. When I watch movies I usually want to laugh, not be stressed,


I haven't seen it in a long time, but my guess is that a horror movie from the early 1970s would be more "laugh" than "stressed" in 2016.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryHart

Respectfully, you have dodged the question. The odds favor a Clinton Presidency, so far as can be predicted in these crazy times. And to control the Senate the Democrats need 50 in that circumstance. The Republicans need 51. The odds slightly favor a D takeover given the one seat lower bar. So, with Hillary in the White House and 50 votes in the Senate the only way to guarantee appointments to the Supreme Court would be to scrap the veto.

I ask again, should this happen?

If your answer differs depending on the party labels involved please elaborate.

Tacitus

Tacitus2 said...

Agghh.

Of course I meant "scrap the filibuster". Hectic day today...

Tacitus

donzelion said...

Berial: "I tend to lump evangelicals into the 'religious right' when I'm in a hurry and that's not fair to the evangelicals. There are PLENTY of evangelicals that would be considered 'left', and do a lot of real outreach and help to minorities in this country and others."

E.g., Jimmy Carter. But even within the religious right, the most 'evangelical' of the evangelicals - the ones who actually go on long-term missions (as opposed to the ones who go on 2-week tourist missions) - learn another language, operate hospitals and clinics etc. - are outliers, with a very different from of reference from the 'religious right.'

I do not think "white supremacist" or "white separatist" really captures the mindset: it's more an "under siege" concept, susceptible to racial overtones, but (aside from a fringe) doesn't generally embrace overt racism itself ("affirmative action" would fall within the litany of evils...along with just about everything else "the government does").

LarryHart: "Because it was his fault that his drunk father passed out naked where Ham could stumble into seeing him?"
It's been a little while since I reviewed the propagation of various blood libels, but in terms of those directed against African-Americans and Jews, the normal path tends to be some 'theologian' posits a notion, and centuries later, that notion gets propagated by political-theological opportunists to attract a certain degree of currency. The concept of the "Children of Ham" had tremendous appeal as a justification for slavery and for Jim Crow - BUT I do not know many Republicans, or 'religious right' who frowned noisily about having African-Americans in prominent positions at their convention.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

Respectfully, you have dodged the question.


At least I did it respectfully. :)


And to control the Senate the Democrats need 50 in that circumstance. The Republicans need 51. The odds slightly favor a D takeover given the one seat lower bar. So, with Hillary in the White House and 50 votes in the Senate the only way to guarantee appointments to the Supreme Court would be to scrap the [filibuster]


Well, that's the only way to prevent Hillary from ramming whoever she wants down your throat. But to stop her from nominating anyone in four years, the Republicans would have a hard time justifying the tactic over and over again. What, the American people deserve to vote again in 2020 before a new Justice is nominated?

A lot depends on who God takes up next. If it's Ruth Bader Ginsburg, we then have a 4-3 Republican Court, and they can stall indefinitely. If it's Clarence Thomas who gets raptured instead, then Democrats can stall as long as we want.

That aside, I think the filibuster has become dysfunctional, and should be eliminated, but I doubt the Democrats have the nerve to do so. To the inevitable rejoinder that I would want it in place when President Cruz has a GOP majority in the Senate, I submit the obvious that the Republicans in that situation will eliminate the filibuster without blinking. So they've got no credible threat to hold over my head for doing it first.

donzelion said...

Tacitus: The filibuster alone does not separate American republic from democracy. Go back to Federalist Papers, and you'll never once see this tradition as one of the 'checks' upon abuse of power. Rather, the institutional checks (and geographic checks, and temporal checks between Court-House-Senate-President) are intended to induce cross-factional interaction - power used to check power, faction brought to check faction.

That said, there are some good reasons to retain it, as the filibuster tradition does distinguish the Senate from the House, and sets up a regime where minority parties must be respected, whereas in the House, they can generally be ignored. It has had substantial utility as a tradition, and preserving it, in most cases, is warranted.

My only equivocation is if the tradition gets "abused," then it's time to review its perpetuation. When a party is dedicated to "defeating the President" rather than to "legislating on behalf of the country" - any mechanisms of its operation should be suspect. The statement "we are dedicated to defeating the president" means "we are dedicated to overruling the people - they are wrong and we are right." In such a case, that party has determined that "we are not a Republic, but a network of factions - and we shall defend our faction." That is poisonous toward any form of governance, and is precisely the sort of threat that can destroy organized government.

Jacob said...

Hi Tacitus,

Do you believe that Republican Politicians are Good Faith negotiators? How will they contribute in positive ways? Suppose for the moment you were a small government type, then just vote appropriately. Offer monitoring/metric based evaluation to determine if programs do the other guys say they will do. Pro government types should be willing to accept this as they would rather have government that works. If your goal is to gum up the works of government as much as possible, I feel that you should be marginalized. Trying to make things dysfunctional so it is easier to dismantle is wrong on many levels. It isn't like we aren't going to spend tax money on programs that were made to fail for many years.

donzelion said...

LarryHart/Paul SB: this was my first time watching the Exorcist all the way through (I'd seen the ending before). As a '70s flick, it wasn't scary so much as fascinating. These days, I suspect "Spotlight" would better capture public fears when Catholic priests and children are considered.

Last week, the girlfriend wanted to see a scary movie, so we watched "The Babadook" - offering a "scary, troubled child" in a completely different angle (the girlfriend wasn't impressed: she works with the most mentally disabled children in Orange County, and tantrums are a workday reality).

But wouldn't it be nice if all we needed to do to eradicate the neurological demons in our politics was to call in a Catholic priest and exorcise the right beast? A magical incantation and our demons are no more?

donzelion said...

Tacitus: "the option of holding the Saudi's accountable for some of the Wahabi madness they have encouraged meets with broad approval in the US."

Probably about 99% of America would agree with you, as did 99% of the Senate. We are quite willing to hold a disliked foreign religious group collectively responsible. The Saudi royal family will find few fans in America.

In coming to their defense, I do not mean to suggest that I love them, or that I will induce you or anyone else to love them. Rather, I mean to hold folks to standards of evidence.

We (as classical liberalists) do not accept 'collective guilt.' That is not our way. We do not go to war because "every last one of them motherf***ers is guilty!" - we go to war because we must defend ourselves.

But when it's Wahhabis, we fall into fallacious reasoning (well, 15 of the 19 were Saudis, so something is wrong with them!) - and relax standards of evidence that we scrupulously honor in other contexts.

Contrast that with the discussion about "fundies" and evangelicals - or FoxNews. Not a one of us (I think) wants to lock up Rupert Murdoch in jail, or sue him for trillions of dollars merely because of the content espoused by his hateful channel. I'd hold him accountable, sure, but I'll stand beside him in a heartbeat to defend him if anyone brings an unfair claim or charge and fails to back it with evidence. I'll do the same for any Christian, Jewish sect, Buddhist - anyone. The less popular they are, the harder it is to do that, but it doesn't change the need for someone to do so.

Now, the problem with JASTA is that instead of dealing with the problem of terrorists through intelligence mechanisms (and diplomacy, and war, where appropriate), we will inject courts into this process. I happen to like courts, but not as a solution to every problem. When a country is designated a "state sponsor of terror," that country suffers some serious costs. But when terrorists operate from a country (and many of the hijackers flew from Europe), if we target the innocent along with the guilty, we damage our courts AND we hurt our normal mechanisms - and the price of such pain is felt by troops and other innocents who must breach the gap.

9/11 was a horrible atrocity. But using an atrocity as a tool for expanding power is ignoble.

David Brin said...

donzel I am not at all convinced by the story that a Pakistani ISI guy leaked OBL’s location. But even if he did, yipe what proportion! The ISI is doing vastly more against world peace than OBL was doing in his hideout. Your ability to ignore the billions spent on Wahabbi and Salafist madrassas that have spread poison for generations simply astonishes me. Al Qaeda and ISIS are direct and I mean fully direct outcomes of that ongoing campaign of almost-war against the West.

Likewise, your notion that anyone will remember JASTA even a year from now is amazing.

Tacitus, the fate of the filibuster depends upon whether the Senate GOP decides to actually grow up or to extend their 24 year campaign of outright treason and Haster-Rule brattiness. What the dems should do is craft dozens of new incentives for Senators and Reps to consider themselves negotiators first and party members second. I would for example give each member several blank subpoenas that they can spend during any year. Commitee chairs would have to go to individual members and ask to use their subpoena, or the member could spend it on some specific cause. Such a method would emphasize the relative importance of individual delegates from districts and states and lessen the importance of party diswcipline — which has reached absurd levels within the modern GOP.

David Brin said...

onward

onward


Jumper said...

"We (as classical liberalists) do not accept 'collective guilt.'"
You took the words right out of my keyboard. To hold another country's government at fault for not doing something we ourselves will never practice is hypocrisy. It's like suing the 101st Airborne for training Eric Rudolph. Or the entire government for granting tax exempt status to churches that Tim McVeigh attended as a child.

On the other hand, why was it not allowed before this law? Meaning, with absolute proof of actual material support, was it the case that there was prior to this no legal remedy? That's hard to believe, but I'm no expert.

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

David, I trust you understand the problems with your idea about the IRS removing Trump's audit. First of all, Hillary has absolutely no power to do so. Second, the instant someone has an audit cancelled because of political reasons, even for a Presidential candidate, all IRS audits become potential political footballs. So, even if she _asked_ Obama to cancel the audit, and Obama did so, it would set an incredibly dangerous precedent. What if Obama cancels an audit on the Clintons? Imagine the field day the Republicans would have! Third, after everything we've read, I think all reasonable adults believe that the audit will find huge problems, resulting in Trump owing a ton of back taxes and penalties. And I certainly don't want him to walk away from those!

But Hillary could easily have said "My tax returns have been released publicly. Over the past 40 years, I've paid xx% in taxes. I've made $yy donations to charity. Donald, based on your ## tax returns that are in the public record over the past 30 years, you paid zz% in taxes on average, and you've made qq donations to charity. You're not a businessman, paying your fair share of our country's expenses - at best, you're taking advantage of the laws to avoid paying your share. And many people who have extended audits either have mistakes or fraud reflected in their returns. Is that what you're actually afraid of? People have withdrawn from running for office when it became public that they were paying for childcare under the table. Why do you believe that a lower standard should apply to you?"