Thursday, October 27, 2016

A cantankerous political climax (at last).

A midweek political posting, as I get ready for our flight home from Vegas.  Re this awful election, I think we've mostly said what there is to say.  

Heck, Clinton and Obama seem at last to get what I (separately and unbeknownst, alack) have been calling for. Going after the troglodytic Roger Ailes puppets in Congress. Nothing would be better for human civilization, for the nation, and for the possible resurrection of a sane-grownup version of US conservatism, than the banishment from power of the Ryan-McConnell cabal that's continued the "rule" of Ailes and Dennis Hastert, two sexual predators who dominated the Republican Party for decades.

Republicans, this is your chance to clean house! Dump them all, down-ticket, including state assemblymen! You can come back in just 2 years with adults. Grownups willing to break with Hastert and Ailes and actually negotiate the way mature citizens (and yes, conservatives) are supposed to do. Come on. The GOP dominated Congress for 20 of the last 22 years. Can you name an accomplishment? Are you happy with those bozos?  Send us mature men and women, in 2018... not scary clowns.

== Cleaning up political snippets ==

Okay, okay... this posting will convey to you some of the snips and rants I had shoved aside for the last couple of months, in favor or more timely, or pertinent... or lucid... political commentaries.  Still, even if some of them are... well... stale, they may still carry some bite!

Such as:

The New York Times editorial board threw its support behind Hillary Clinton “rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage” and making only parenthetical references to her rival, Donald Trump.

While commenting on her mistakes, the Times board adds: “Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington,” the board wrote. “She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship.”  

The board made a single brief but pointed mention of the GOP candidate as the “worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history” before declaring that “the best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.”

== After the first debate ==

So much to comment on.... So many things she could have done so much better. For example... One fascinating thing from this debate... Donald Trump essentially backed my claim that the Mexican middle class is rising spectacularly and largely due to NAFTA. And to be clear, the Mexican middle class is rising vastly, vastly more than the American middle class has suffered, and most of the US suffering was not due to NAFTA but allowing our oligarchs to seize passive wealth, hand over fist. Via Supply Side (Voodoo) "Economics" or SSVE.

It is the stunning U.S. accomplishment no one will talk about, but which should have been - and is - among our highest national priorities, because a middle class, prosperous Mexico -- another Canada -- is more in our interest than almost anything else. A fantastic accomplishment of the American Pax... and never mentioned by anyone.

Um, some logic here? Isn't it better and easier to defend Mexico's narrow border with Guatemala than the huge US-Mexico one? (BTW that is happening right now, as the US assists Mexico beefing up its southern "wall." And Mexico is eager, since their rising middle class is now complaining about illegal immigrants from the south, stealing jobs.)

Those in the U.S. who screech "those should be OUR jobs!" are just dumb. These are mostly jobs that would have otherwise gone to China. And where one was lost in the U.S., it was with a multiplier of dozens in Mexico.

Seriously, you think a rising Mexican middle class is a ZERO SUM situation? Idiots. They are already buying more US products, by far than when they were poor. And that will only skyrocket. Moreover it helps to explain why net immigration from Mexico - especially illegal - has plummeted across the last 8 years and gone into reverse!

And not mentioning that... and similar stats... showed that Hillary badly needs to get different debate coaches.

 == Try a sense of proportion ==

Between 2003 and 2009, the Bush White House “lost” 22 million emails. ... Like Hillary Clinton and her predecessor Colin Powell, the Bush White House used a private email server. Only the Bush administration failed to store vastly more of its emails, as required by law...

...and then refused to comply with a congressional subpoena seeking some of them. “It’s about as amazing a double standard as you can get,” says Eric Boehlert, who works with the pro-Clinton group Media Matters. “If you look at the Bush emails, he was a sitting president, and 95 percent of his chief advisers’ emails were on a private email system set up by the RNC. Imagine if for the last year and a half we had been talking about Hillary Clinton’s emails set up on a private DNC server?” 

“Bush administration emails could have aided a special prosecutor’s investigation into a White House effort to discredit a diplomat who disagreed with the administration’s fabricated Iraq WMD evidence by outing his CIA agent wife, Plame. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who was brought in to investigate that case, said in 2006 that he believed some potentially relevant emails sent by aides in Cheney's office were in the administration's system but he couldn’t get them.” 

The supposedly lost emails also prevented Congress from fully investigating, in 2007, the politically motivated firing of nine U.S. attorneys. When the Democrat-led Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed related emails, Bush’s attorney general, Alberto Gonzalez, said many were inaccessible or lost on a nongovernmental private server run by the RNC. 

All of which adds up to one word describing those who now screech at Hillary Clinton for mistakes that were literally… and I mean “literally” in the most literal sense – minuscule by comparison. What is that one word? Hypocrites.

== The opposite of dirty is...? ==

Why has President Obama’s White House been so scandal-free? Like Sherlock Holmes's "dog that failed to bark in the night," that lack of scandal is important, not least because it offers some clues to how the next White House can do the same.  See: Five policies and practices seem to have led the way, by Norman Eisen.

The author makes powerful points. But he leaves out a bigger picture.  In fact, GW Bush assigned scores of FBI agents to dig for "smoking guns" to send to jail "the most corrupt" Clintonite politicians.  What did the most extensive witch hunt in U.S. history accomplish?

 . . (1) agents distracted from counter-terror before 9/11... in other words outright treason, and
 . . (2) ZERO clintonian officials even indicted for malfeasance of office, a first ever for a two term administration. The first time. Ever.

Especially since a real witch hunt, extending across 24 years, costing upwards toward a billion dollars, diverting public resources and involving Vesuvius-spews of bile from talk-radio hosts across the land, never resulted in a single Clinton era official ever being imprisoned or even indicted for actual crimes having to do with malfeasance in the performance of their official duties. Not one, ever. 

To a scientist, this would come as close to disproof by failure to find supporting evidence as one could get.. (Absence of evidence can be evidence of absence, when the search for evidence was so relentless and thorough.) Indeed, the implication -- galling to all of my Republican friends -- is that the Clintonites were the most honest governing clade in U.S. history.

Now we have a second U.S. administration to go eight years without a single demonstrably culpable malfeasance of office. (The current House GOP is desperately trying to deny the dems that double record, by attempting to impeach the IRS head for things he never did, ever, even remotely-at-all.) Only in the case of the Obama Administration, it’s not just the second to have no malfeasance indictments, but the first to have gone essentially *scandal free.*

Oh… you ravers who raise “scandals” of an utterly picayune nature? How about you first put up money that I can’t respond with things done by the Bushes that were literally orders of magnitude worse? Two orders? Three?  Four?

== Never Mind Trump ==

And now we have the main campaign slogan being pushed by John McCain and the Koch Network of PACs is “Never mind Trump! Vote Republican down-ticket for Congress and state legislature, so a GOP Congress can hold Hillary’s feet to the fire and block anything she tries!” 

Again, it’s the “Hastert Rule” concocted by Dennis “friend to boys” Hastert, and enforced fiercely by the head of Fox News, Roger "friend to women" Ailes, that turned the world’s greatest deliberative body – and its oldest political party – into wretched opium dens of glowering, indolent-slothful cronyism and turpitude. 

And treason, for the harm they have done to a nation where science and innovation and moving ahead have been key to our leadership of the world. Remember, Trump is not the disease, but a symptom. Burn out Rupert Murdoch's mob of nasty confederates. It is the only chance to restore and revive a conservatism of adults.

== Miscellany ==

A cute moment as Barack Obama cheerfully chides Bill Clinton to get up the stairs and into Air Force One to take him home (from the Israel funeral of Shimon Peres.) One president, highly disciplined and self-controlled, urging one who – well – was an LBJ style glad-hander and certainly a bit self-indulgent.

But both of them the most popular and most accomplished presidents in a long time.  The only 8 year presidents in U.S. history to see not a single one of their appointees topple or be indicted for malfeasance of office.  With almost every large metric of US national health rising instead of falling (as happened under both Bushes.)  

Oh, but what will she do with Bill?  A cabinet post to keep him busy? Picking drapes and hosting teas? Ambassador to France, to keep him both busy and happy and out of her hair?  Ambassador to Libya, to make a point? Both revenge and rewards can be served cold. I guess we'll see. 

68 comments:

donzelion said...

"Why has President Obama’s White House been so scandal-free?"

Some alternative explanations.
(1) Republicans created 8 different congressional committees to chase after Hillary Clinton's emails. All their attention was directed toward her, they still couldn't catch her, and they let any other corrupt officials off the hook while chasing after her.
(2) Democrats failed to pursue prosecutions and whistle blowers they should have. I suppose Trump might claim FauxNews and the rest of the media intentionally withheld evidence of scandal in order to make Obama look good.

I expect Trump News will make that argument, 24/7, in another month or two. May they go bankrupt, quickly, and may they take down FauxNews with them.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: (continuing from previous post)
"The really-Greatest Generation (Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, and yes Hamilton) seemed to understand that the Constitution had to be flexible and "grow" in order to survive, which is why the "strict Constitutionalists" who insist that we have to interpret the words exactly as they were meant in 1789 are espousing a ridiculous position."

Actually, they're espousing a ridiculous position because they believe the original interpretation of the words is decipherable. In reality, the words were a series of compromises, based on the state of play in a number of debates - guesswork, patchwork, uncertainty. In reality, the proponents vacillated, sometimes personally, sometimes politically. Hamilton announced Jefferson is sleeping with a slave girl; Jefferson and Madison declare inimical hatred of Hamilton; they weren't pronouncing on constitutional complexity so much as responding to the challenges of life as lived.

Anyone who pretends to know the secret souls of long dead white men is just expressing their own personal beliefs and pretending to cite grand authority (I'm looking at you, Clarence Thomas).

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

I expect Trump News will make that argument, 24/7, in another month or two. May they go bankrupt, quickly, and may they take down FauxNews with them.


It makes me wonder who will be advertising on Trump News. What would be worth the kind of money Trump would want to advertise on such a station? I'd suspect Viagra and adult diapers, but most late-evening television advertising already seems limited to that sort of thing. Maybe they'll be outright advertising products that appeal to the KKK and Nazis.

donzelion said...

Alfred: from previous post
"A system that leaves most of it's people near subsistence living, though, is not one I consider to be all that vital."
All things in relative terms, sir. A system that leaves most of its people near subsistence is far more vital than a system that leaves its people below subsistence, no?

Feudal oligarchy + slavery of the last 6000 years may be preferable to the pre-feudal systems of the previous 100,000. But that doesn't mean I'd endorse either.

"The Chinese are buying into the Bourgeois Deal."
Jury's still out, but if modern China survives a massive shock, then I'll believe it. The Bourgeois Deal nearly ruptured in 1932.

"It isn’t so much that central planners are inflexible. The real issue is they can’t know what the community knows."
I see the issue differently. A central planner sets the 5-year goal to double production, with severe consequences for failure. The central planner knows that it's unattainable without large improvements in machinery. The local managers order 4x what they need, expecting to get 25% of what they request. Every other community does the same. Only those with close friends get what they actually need; the rest engage in sabotage to lower their production target, and then repair the sabotage to get back where they were, and then add a little more to meet a revised quota. Five years later, everyone celebrates the great boost - while a handful of 'cheaters' get an indefinite visit to Siberia. Everybody knows the game.

"Everybody knows that the dice are loaded,
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed"

It's not that the players suffer a lack of knowledge - it's all that time spent lying in estimates, justifying nonperformance, conducting and correcting sabotage, and blaming the perpetrators is a waste of the community's talents. When 'everybody knows' everything there is to know, nobody is asking questions and making something new possible.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "It makes me wonder who will be advertising on Trump News."

I suspect all of the following:
(1) Trump Properties.
(2) Trump (Non-) University (a new venture with Robert Kirosaki)
(3) Trump Ministries (I hear the new "Bibles and Bikinis" ministry is quite a hit).
(4) Yuengling Beer & MillerCoors.
(5) The Law Offices of Rudy Giuliani. He stopped 9/11 and he'll stop them from attacking you too!
(6) Las Vegas Sands (Sheldon Adelson)
(7) FoxNews will try to advertise on Trump News ("come back! we're the fair and balanced ones!")
(8) Jenny Craig ("We've got a brand new Melania diet coming your way!")
(9) Hobby Lobby & Chik Fil A

May their wealth be squandered, may their good employees find safer havens with better employers...

"What would be worth the kind of money Trump would want to advertise on such a station?"
Seriously? Trump can bankrupt any of his other companies whenever he wants by overspending on advertising, effectively shifting any free cash he has out of those assets - then liquidate them (screwing their shareholders, creditors, and employees, but hey!). The most hilarious restructuring in history, but-for all those employees in Trump companies who will lose their jobs (who will fill the ranks of the KKK and other 'deplorables' since they're now tarnished from any other employment).

Alfred Differ said...

Wouldn't a prosperous, middle-class Guatemala be better than a south Mexico wall? 8)

ad infinitum

Alfred Differ said...

@Donzelion: Near death IS more vital than death. True. The nearly dead can recover, but 6000 years of history shows they usually don't.

And after it rains
There's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack
Everything's the same
Back in my little town

Designed systems have a way of arranging for black rainbows. What vitality exists in my little town leaves. Only the dead and dying remain.

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

@Donzelion: It is the planners who lack knowledge. The players know what they know including what they could do to serve each other a little better, but they act on very little of it. What they know mostly gets wasted to play the game well enough to avoid the trip to Siberia. It IS a well known game with a well understood strategy for players that requires they not tell the bosses everything.

Even if they did, though, the bosses can't know what individual players don't know. Ruling angels would have to tap divine knowledge to accomplish the tasks they face efficiently. No human is going to do that any time soon.

Anyone who works for government sees this game in action, so it isn't limited to the socialists. I suspect it is a result of a social status reward system and no other market connection. I see it at work often enough, but I also see some of my co-workers seeing it and resisting. They act upon what they know and innovate when they do.

Alfred Differ said...

I sincerely hope Trump DOES start his own news channel.
Pretty people need jobs too. 8)

reason said...

... for the ham they have done ....

I take it this is a typo.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Wouldn't a prosperous, middle-class Guatemala be better than a south Mexico wall? 8)


Thom Hartmann had a guest who was a rich German businessman defending Germany's high taxes and social safety net. He said, "I don't want to be a rich man in a poor country."

You're essentially saying the same thing at the macro level. "We don't want to be a rich country in a poor world".

Of course, what we're trying to avoid there is exactly what Donald Trump does want. To him, "rich man in a poor country" equates to "Big fish in the pond", whereas you and I see it more as "The only one around worth killing and eating."

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

The most hilarious restructuring in history, but-for all those employees in Trump companies who will lose their jobs (who will fill the ranks of the KKK and other 'deplorables' since they're now tarnished from any other employment).


Now there's a great endorsement for the next election. "Donald Trump ruined his company and put me out of work. I'm voting for the only man who knows how to fix this--Donald Trump!"

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Anyone who works for government sees this game in action, so it isn't limited to the socialists. I suspect it is a result of a social status reward system and no other market connection. I see it at work often enough, but I also see some of my co-workers seeing it and resisting. They act upon what they know and innovate when they do.


The worst thing about--well, probably about any job with a boss--is contradictory directives. One common example is "Follow all compliance protocols," and "Think outside the box." It's almost like the work equivalent of laws that make everybody into a criminal, so everybody is subject to capricious prosecution.

LarryHart said...

...continuing that thought...

Yes, people eventually do intuit the real rules of the game, and innovate to get around the barriers their bosses place in their way, but isn't there a huge loss of efficiency if that's what innovation and creative thought is being directed toward?

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Republicans, this is your chance to clean house! Dump them all, down-ticket, including state assemblymen! You can come back in just 2 years with adults.


Unfortunately, "Throw all of the bums out of Washington" is usually code for throwing out the Democrats, and replacing them with exactly the kind of know-nothing Republicans you are railing against here.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Re this awful election,...


Agreed about the awfulness, but it's become an article of faith in the media as well as personal discussions that both candidates are equally unacceptable and blameworthy for making this campaign as awful as it is.

But if you listen to the complaints from the Democratic side about Hillary (not the lunatic ranting from the other side), it's really about her being too establishment at a time when populism is the order of the day. She's not exciting enough!

Exciting would be if Bernie Sanders were running against Trump. Then, both sides would have reason to be riled up and in-your-face. But would that make the campaign less "awful"? I don't see how.

OTOH, if it were Jeb Bush vs Hillary, we'd have a normal campaign. If it were Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio against Hillary, the campaign would probably be more mudslingy than it would be with Jeb, but nothing more lowdown than we've had for the past several elections. Hillary is not the limiting re-agent in this reaction.

The contribution that Hillary makes to this campaign's awfulness seems (to me) to be that Republicans keep making mountains out of molehills in their accusations against her. The contribution that Trump and his supporters make to this campaign's awfulness is the threat of armed insurrection when the voters repudiate their deplorable candidate. One of these things is more awful than the other.

I agree that the campaign is a harmful one for our country, but that's not due to "the two most disliked candidates". It's due to one party and one candidate.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Oh, but what will she [Hillary] do with Bill? A cabinet post to keep him busy? Picking drapes and hosting teas? Ambassador to France,...?


Well, as Secretary of State Clinton held Hamilton's title, it might be appropriate (or ironic) for her husband to have a Jefferson role.

:)

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB,

In case you missed it, check out the previous post. I copied a long passage from Cerebus which included the part I remembered about the redwoods.

...after which you apparently disappeared. "Poit!"

LarryHart said...

as if they were reading my mind (or this blog) :

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-myth-that-hillary-clinton-is-just-lucky-debunked/2016/10/27/1487458e-9bbc-11e6-9980-50913d68eacb_story.html?utm_term=.84e4faca2ff3


We all know that Hillary Clinton is just lucky, not good. The second-most disliked candidate in history is winning only because her opponent is even more disliked. Any normal Republican would be waltzing to victory. Right?

Wrong.

These are common perceptions, though, and they have force because they are coming from NeverTrumpers as well as Donald Trump supporters. It’s important to challenge this case now, because it will be used to question Clinton’s legitimacy, if she’s elected, before she is even sworn in — and to justify endlessly investigating her and rejecting her nominees thereafter.

...

As for a mandate — well, check out the issues page of her campaign website. I count 41 position papers, though I might have missed a couple, ranging from autism to voting rights, each with a half-dozen bullet points. Should Trump’s lack of interest in debating these count against her? Should her comprehensiveness? Was “hope and change” more of a mandate eight years ago? Clinton has been clear about priorities including immigration reform, taxing the rich and slowing climate change.

The campaigns this year have given voters a pretty good understanding of what the candidates stand for and how each differs from the other. If Clinton wins, it will be after laying out not only her tax returns and campaign bundlers but, over the course of a grueling year and a half, her principles, personality and platform, too. Let’s not pre-shrink her presidency.

LarryHart said...

A delightful local (Austin, TX) campaign video that won't make you cringe. It's cute:

http://www.texasmonthly.com/the-daily-post/travis-county-commissioner-gerald-daugherty-cutest-campaign-ad-season/

Paul SB said...

Larry,

"...after which you apparently disappeared. "Poit!""

Sorry, dude! Really busy, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I saw the passage and remembered it, and I think I even had some comment to make about it. Maybe I'll remember this weekend, if I can summon some of the erudition of Suentius Po.

Poit!

Anonymous said...

Whoa, still doubling down on the Pax Americana claim despite one nation granting continued military support to the death squads in Honduras? (Hint: it was not North Korea.) Well earned your blinkers! Athens too was a democracy at home and evil empire abroad, though this dates to "the 6,000 years of feudalism" period, so clearly nothing can be learned from history.

occam's comic said...

I am not really seeing any Mexican middle class miracle in the stats if found.
Economic growth for the last 20 years has been pretty modest for a developing country (~2.5% average growth per year).
The CIA fact book puts the poverty rate in 2012 at ~53% below poverty line.
The GINI index (measure of inequality) went from 49 in 1984 to 48.2 in 2014, so only a small reduction in inequality over the last 30 years.

According the stats I found It still looks like Mexico is place in which most of the people live in poverty or near poverty. It has a place with a highly unequal "pyramidal" type income distribution.

Now the number of middle class Mexicans has increased (because the number of Mexicans has increased) but I can't seem to find the evidence that the Middle class in Mexico has greatly increased their percentage of the population over the last 20 years.

Hamish said...

@Dr Brin re a sense of proportion

I appreciate the argument here, but is this not parallel to Trump's deflection of accusations of sexism misogyny by pointing at Bill Clinton's past misdeeds?

donzelion said...

Alfred: re central planning v. public planning - "It is the planners who lack knowledge...the bosses can't know what individual players don't know. Ruling angels would have to tap divine knowledge to accomplish the tasks they face efficiently."

Yes, but this analysis applies equally to any distributed, capital-based system that involves a hierarchy (e.g., managers make decisions about resource allocation). In that sense, both 'central planning' and 'corporate planning' systems will reflect the same inadequacies of knowledge: both have millions of managers, making plans based on limited knowledge.

Hence my focus is on "waste" rather than "knowledge": the worst waste in centrally planned economies tends to be all the tactics for CYA evasion (which will be increased in a centrally planned system when compliance with the 'plan' is enforced with criminal sanctions).

"Anyone who works for government sees this game in action,"
As can anyone who works for large firms in the private sector. ;-)

"I see it at work often enough, but I also see some of my co-workers seeing it and resisting."
To the extent they can resist CYA creep, they can avoid waste, which should render your workplace more efficient than others. But the proper analysis in my mind is the extent to which human potential is wasted, not the extent to which information is limited: information is ALWAYS limited, and even the most emergent systems with perfect knowledge that vastly exceeds that held by the constituent parts cannot have knowledge about the future - and in most cases, it is 'future knowledge' that is the most valuable (if anybody actually had it).

Or in other words, the order of information required is not merely angelic, but Godly omniscience (or at least, prophecy). That was the ultimate hubris of the Marxists - the notion that they could read future paths. It also applies to we WEIRDos: I cannot say with certainty that the Bourgeois Deal would have survived Fascism in 1939 but-for some pretty unexpected heroic measures (including alliances among numerous factions that repudiated the Bourgeois Deal).

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "The worst thing about--well, probably about any job with a boss--is contradictory directives."

Indeed. The greatest advantage of a capitalist/democratic/liberal system is that one doesn't have to fear penal sentences for failing to figure out the priorities in the contradictory instructions. Saves incredible time and energy that is better allocated to getting work done.

"It's almost like the work equivalent of laws that make everybody into a criminal, so everybody is subject to capricious prosecution."
That arbitrary and capricious system is one of the biggest problems with oligarchy: no one reviews a capricious decision, as the oligarch's whim is the law of the land. The only 'stability' in such a system is "which land does this oligarch rule" (it's hard to relocate land). Which is why the "TrumpNews Reorganization Gambit" is so bitterly ironic -

"Donald Trump ruined his company and put me out of work. I'm voting for the only man who knows how to fix this--Donald Trump!"
Sounds a little more like Carly Fiorina's pitch: "I wrecked HP, laid of tens of thousands of employees, and collected massive bonuses turning a global champion into a dying basketcase. Elect me, and I'll do the same for America!"

Or, most ironic of all perhaps, Enron, what with their extensive 'code of ethics' and their coextensive mockery thereof.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

"Donald Trump ruined his company and put me out of work. I'm voting for the only man who knows how to fix this--Donald Trump!"

Sounds a little more like Carly Fiorina's pitch: "I wrecked HP, laid of tens of thousands of employees, and collected massive bonuses turning a global champion into a dying basketcase. Elect me, and I'll do the same for America!"


Yeah, but Carly doesn't have hoards of rabid followers buying into her pitch the way Trump does.

Sometimes, I think the facetious theory on this blog--that Trump functions as Asimov's "Mule"--is spot on. I mean, what else explains it?

donzelion said...

"Oh, but what will she [Hillary] do with Bill? A cabinet post to keep him busy? Picking drapes and hosting teas? Ambassador to France,...?"

Anything and everything Bill does publicly will be judged harshly and used to discredit Hillary. Thus, I propose:

Top Positions for Bill Clinton in a Hillary Clinton Administration
(1) There's an opening at the International Space Station. Bill Clinton could even regale White House dinners with saxophone play through a live feed, and thus contribute to political affairs during his wife's presidency. Best: no interns in space.
(2) An extended monastic retreat. 4-8 years of vows of silence and meditation. Male exclusive (but not misogynistic) monastery. Nobody anywhere believes Bill has a thing for men. He might announce a schedule of monastic occultation at various institutions so as to avoid favoring certain sects (and probably ought to avoid the Dalai Lama during that tour for political reasons).
(3) Hike the Appalachian Trail. I hear Robert Redford is also working on that. Better still, do a promo video for the national parks, and go visit each and every one of them.
(4) White House "science cheerleader." I like the thought of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Clinton co-hosting a show together. Banter could be pretty cool.
(5) First Farmer. He and Jon Stewart could work on healthier 'more organic than thou' vegan farming techniques and open up a fruit & jam stand together.

David Brin said...

Hamish it would help if you made clear which of my remarks you were referring to,

dozel good list of chores for Bill.

greg byshenk said...

Alfred Differ said...
Even if they did, though, the bosses can't know what individual players don't know. Ruling angels would have to tap divine knowledge to accomplish the tasks they face efficiently. No human is going to do that any time soon.

What about augmented humans? This (Hayekian?) claim has been true, but it seems almost certain that it will soon cease to be, if such has not already happened. One doesn't have to "tap divine knowledge", but only systemic knowledge that is largely invisible to the "individual players". With our growing ability to collect, manage, and analyze data, we are nearing the point where the "bosses" (or at least their data analysts) can know pretty much what the individual players know, as well as a great deal that they don't.

Darrell E said...

On my first read through I read, "Better still, do a porno video for the national parks, and go visit each and every one of them."

Who knows, that might actually work out pretty well. Almost sounds like something out of an Heinlein novel.

Hamish said...

Dr Brin, my apologies - I was referring to your comments in re the Bush emails. The parallel being the comparison between current "scandals" and the actions of former presidents.

Alfred Differ said...

Learn to gerrymander at 538.com. 8)

http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/rig-the-election-with-math/

LarryHart said...

@Alfred Differ:

Hmmmm, this would be easier to describe with pictures. Then again, the idea isn't to immediately spoil it for others.

It seems to me the key to the puzzle is that you need three of the five districts to be majority-blue. Mathematically, that means that three of the districts each have three of the nine blue squares (and two red squares) apiece, while the remaining two districts are all red. Numerically, the way the squares are counted, that's the only way for blue to win.

Geometrically, then, I think the key is to connect that lonely blue square in the second row down and far right column with two others to make a district. You can't just cut across and make row 2 a district, because that doesn't leave enough leeway for the other squares to be used correctly. I do have a solution, which I'll be happy to share after some time and with appropriate spoiler warnings.

This puzzle also illustrates the limits of gerrymandering (why depressed Republican votes could flip the house). If even one of the blue squares turned red, blue could not possibly win.

Jumper said...

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-PCCG_i-1WEw/WBO0-7LHGiI/AAAAAAAAAwU/OQ2hpYxY27gONsYw9R0RBPNw_X-Hb7eDACLcB/s1600/gerry.png

Do the sacrificial red zones first; ensure connectivity further on. Pick connectable majority-blue zones.

locumranch said...


Economic plenty creates (leads to) progressive liberality: By arguing the reverse -- that progressive liberality creates (and/or leads to) economic plenty -- our host continues to indulge in faulty conditional logic. Shakespeare explored this causal theme in 'Timons of Athens' wherein wealth allows Timons to indulge in both liberality & progressivism, but scarcity justifies misanthropy & inflexibility.

At first glance, this logical error seems harmless enough. We call it 'Optimism' & Enlightenment. Unfortunately, it snowballs rather rapidly into further error cascade, leading our well-meaning host down the very dangerous & well-travelled path of purging those who he believes are 'deplorable':

"Nothing would be better for human civilization, for the nation, and for the possible resurrection of a sane-grownup version of US conservatism, than the banishment from power of the Ryan-McConnell cabal that (has) dominated the Republican Party for decades.
Republicans, this is your chance to clean house! Dump them all, down-ticket, including state assemblymen!," he says.

Believing that the continued existence of their conservative 'scarcity mindset' (what we call 'Pessimism') must somehow prevent the coming of the liberal progressive paradise of plenty to come, he so much as argues that conservatives are inhuman pests & 'sexual predators' that only deserve the extermination that pests deserve, a definition that logically justifies the use of cattle cars, gulags and Zyklon B.

He even goes as far as to argue that the creation of "a middle class, prosperous Mexico" will somehow ENRICH the same US citizens that his progressively liberal NAFTA-esque wealth giveaway policies have impoverished & disincentivised.

This, then, is the truth that our rather conservative ancestors have always known: Whereas conservative miserliness accumulates economic wealth, progressive liberality squanders it.


Best

LarryHart said...

Hillary's e-mails again?

Really???

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/29/us/politics/fbi-hillary-clinton-email.html


...
In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said that emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, and that they “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.”

Mr. Comey said the F.B.I. was taking steps to “determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation.” He said he did not know how long it would take to review the emails, or whether the new information was significant.
...
After deriding the F.B.I. for weeks as inept and corrupt, Mr. Trump went on to praise the law enforcement agency.

“I have great respect for the fact that the F.B.I. and the D.O.J. are now willing to have the courage to right the horrible mistake that they made,” Mr. Trump said, referring also to the Department of Justice. “This was a grave miscarriage of justice that the American people fully understand. It is everybody’s hope that it is about to be corrected.”

The Clinton campaign called on Mr. Comey to provide information beyond what was put forth in the letter.

“Director Comey’s letter refers to emails that have come to light in an unrelated case, but we have no idea what those emails are and the director himself notes they may not even be significant,” said John D. Podesta, chairman of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign.
...



Jeff B. said...

Paul Krugman's (admittedly partisan) Twitter stream is giving up to the minute details on the new email "scandal." If true, it looks like this was 3 (three!) emails neither sent nor received by Clinton. And the unrelated case- possibly Anthony Weiner.

But. But. But. "SCANDAL!!!"

Or maybe not?

One of the worst things that's happened to this country in the last 50 years has been the absorption of the press into profit-first media corps/megacorps... No one fact checked, no one investigated the info (or the to-be-expected Republican spin), just push out the "Breaking News!" before anything was known, because, you know, keep the viewers entertained!

Absolutely despicable. And yes, I'd say the same thing if it was vs. a Republican.

LarryHart said...

Like Bart Simpson, Donald Trump seems to think "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" was about:

"A boy cried 'Wolf!' a few times. Had a few laughs. I don't remember how it ended."

Paul SB said...

You know I haven't noticed our host using the Z word in awhile, but somehow I suspect Loci's latest zero-sum stereotype will invite just a manifestation.

Darrell E,

Some people get snappy when they are sleepy, or downright violent when tipsy. I get silly. So how about some suggested titles?

"Exploring Crater Lake: The Secret of Wizard Island"
"Scaling Half Dome"
"Mount Rush! More..."
"A Day and a Night with Old Faithful"

I think I better stop, now. But yeah, sounds like something out of a Heinlein novel.

Paul SB said...

GiantMicrobes.com is having a little giveaway, and at the end it asks you to choose which of their products best represent our two presidential candidates. I chose Flesh Eating Bacteria for Donald Grope.

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSe4wD-bNVLZzT_JpGxXIOMG1YeieA8mDc3VSpoUqoobD3V43Q/viewform?c=0&w=1&redirect_mongo_id=5813768632fc0f002d000055&mc_cid=e15441f907&mc_eid=ff4cf534ba

These guys make rather odd plush dolls of cells, bacteria, viruses & other small life. They make cute gifts for the microbiologist in your life, though one teacher I knew gave all the STDs to her boyfriend.

Their basic web page if you want to check out what they make is:
www.giantmicrobes.com

Paul SB said...

Alfred,

Back to the idea of planning:

"The real issue is they can’t know what the community knows. It simply isn’t possible to centralize the information they need on which to make good decisions. At best, they can centralize some of it and make the best decisions they can. One needs something to close to omniscience to accomplish the real task. One needs to be a transcendent like V Vinge described. Communities contain distributed knowledge that none of the members contain within them in whole."

Certainly bad planners assume that they have infinite knowledge (The Fallacy of Immaculate Perception) and this is quite common, but you are presuming all planning is incompetent and that planning cannot account for emergent properties. In a way you have attempted to define away the possibility of competent planning when you say that the Constitution was frame for government and not a plan. How is a frame not a plan? It is not a plan in every tiny detail, it is a broad, overall plan, but a plan nonetheless.

Another assumption you appear to be make (and correct me if I am wrong once again) is that planners are not part of the community that uses what is being planned, that they are somehow inevitably isolated from the objects of their planning. I could certainly see that in the car elf my school district's board and superintendent, neither of which seem to have a clue what it is the teachers & staff do on a daily basis, but to generalize from there is both cynical and inaccurate. An architect goes to school to learn how to plan out buildings, most of which is about safety, but architects live and work in buildings all their lives. They are every bit as much a part of Galton's mob as the average construction worker who builds those buildings.

I have a nephew whose ambition it was to become an engineer specializing in the creation of medical equipment. Once he graduated from high school he started digging into the profession in detail and discovered that it was going to take him twice as long to be able to do that, because he would have had to learn both the engineering aspects and the medical/biological aspects of it. Her had to understand both what the doctors need and how devices could be planned to accomplish the doctors' goals. He ended up giving up on that plan. he was honestly too lazy and spoiled to put up with that much time in school before he could start making money and buying fancy cars, which is what he was really most interested in. Not every planner sits in some ivory tower, disconnected from the world they plan.

"That doesn’t mean we can’t create constraints on what they try to do, but tight constraints are a form of central planning again."

Once again, your definition of planning seems to be based on Orwellian assumptions. A wise planner understands that not everything can be planned, that there is a sweet spot between too tight and too loose in terms of constraints. Not all planning is bad planning, even central planning. Our host constantly talks about markets as great democratizers, but if they are constrained too much by central planning, they are stifled. If they are constrained too little by central planning, they stifle themselves through the growth of monopolies that destroy competition. The Sherman Anti-Trust Act was not built into the U.S. Constitution, but it was made possible by that plan, and was itself a plan to rebalance a system in which an emergent property was its own self destruction. Good planners know that they don't know everything and incorporate methods of gathering information and adapting.

"At best, they can centralize some of it and make the best decisions they can."
Isn't that the best anyone can do? The best they can? Your portrayal of planning is starting to sound kind of straw, and making the perfect the enemy of the good. Let's not call it "planning" if it isn't perfect, and since perfection isn't possible, planning isn't possible. Sounds like something out of a Jerry Lewis movie.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Paul

I believe you have put your finger right on where I disagree with Alfred

I don't expect to be able to "plan" and predict all of the outcomes of tweaking the parameters of our society but I do believe that Homo. Tryitouticus. (I love that) has the ability to try different things and keep fiddling until it goes better (back to the engine analogy)

Tacitus2 said...

Paul SB

Your nephew the thwarted (by himself) medical device engineer....what became Plan B? Or perhaps there isn't one yet.

As a teacher you might find interesting the career arc of one of my kids. Mediocre grades in HS because he felt, correctly, that much of what he was being taught was nonsense. Took every shop class there was. Did not want to go to college and become an engineer because said engineers were impractical pencil pushers. Goes to Tech and becomes a machinist. THEN goes to college and becomes an engineer. Now designs robotic assembly equipment that makes medical devices. He tells me the real money is in consulting once you understand the regulatory process. So he can design a part, actually fab the prototype, and soon he will be able to navigate the regulatory maze. The mice that can do that find the Big Cheese.

He's 26.

Nice to not talk politics. Regards the latest I have my 24 hour rule in effect. But I figure the amount of spin coming out of D.C. today is probably to the point where the hacks spinning to the left and to the right are doing so with such intense gyroscopic forces that if any one of them takes an inopportune bathroom break the whole city will fly apart, bits landing as far away as Omaha.

Tacitus

Paul SB said...

Duncan,

It's not just that H. tryitouticus has the ability to try different things, it's that the species has been doing exactly that for 200 kilo years, and is unlikely to ever stop trying. The cynicism brought on by failed 20th Century experiments in "social engineering" (fascism, communism, etc) notwithstanding, humans are rarely satisfied with their lot in life and there are always those who will try to make things better. They will always have to contend with those whose intentions are evil while they are at it, because humans are a variable enough species to express the whole range from satanic to saintly, even within the same individual. The cynicism Alfred expresses strikes me as a more intelligent, well-conceived version of the witless paranoia a couple of our other commentators succumb to. Both are baggage of the Cold War. But in a sense they are useful, in that we know planning can be done very badly with heinous consequences. We probably need some level of cynicism to keep people from swerving into really dangerous territory.

Paul SB said...

Tacitus,

Your student shows that the high school to college to career route just isn't the only option. 50% of high school graduates attempt college these days, and 50% of those drop out within the first year. So what happens to those who don't go to college? The problem, as I se it, is this rather American attitude that over-emphasizes competition and ignores contentment. In Germany only 10% of students go to a university - the natural-born eggheads - but trade schools are taken seriously as institutions. Whereas here the university route is treated like it is some God-given right and only stupid people don't follow the One Path. High schools get more cred the more of their students go to college, which encourages more young people with kids to move into the district. That gets the school district more government money (which in my district gets squandered by administration on useless prettying-up projects instead of going to things that would actually help the students - class size reduction being #1).

As far as most of what gets taught being nonsense, I'm kind of iffy on that one. Under the old standards imposed by the Bush Administration, I and my colleagues spent a lot of time scratching our heads and asking why it was important for every child to know certain things, like the many fardling details of the Kreb's Cycle. If your student is now 26, he grew up under NCLB, and I would be inclined to agree with him on many fronts. When I was in school myself I often wondered if the History curriculum were not just a propaganda tool. I refuse to use the term "social science" for what gets taught in high school history. Nearly all the high school history teachers I have known have been blatant science deniers and wouldn't know scientific standards of evidence if it bit them in the ass. One history teacher at my school insists on telling our students that climate change is a left-wing political fabrication, so whenever I teach the atmosphere unit I keep getting students telling me that "Mr. Lynch says it's all bullshit and I'm a damn liberal! Why should we believe you?"

Ah, but overall, it seems to me it is less about what is being taught than how. If schools go more into depth on topics and depend less on trying to "cover" massive numbers of disjointed facts, students would learn how to think, rather than merely how to fill in bubbles on their multiple-guess tests. Especially in this era in which so much information is available for free on the internet, but it is scattered among massive amounts of utter drivel, having young people wade through that themselves, learning to distinguish between fact and opinion and outright motivated lies will make for more intelligent, more resilient people who can solve problems, and not merely bobble their heads to authority. As a science teacher I have always found it ironic that I am supposed to just tell students about all these facts scientists discovered, and they are supposed to believe everything I say, when the very nature of science is to not believe a damn thing unless you have proof. Fortunately the new standards recognize this.

As far as my nephew's Plan B goes, he didn't really have one. He's working for his father's business, and not doing it well because he doesn't have much enthusiasm for it. But at the age of 35 he still acts like a teenager, more concerned about what kind of car he's driving and how many girlfriends he can catch with it. Only child - what can I say?

Paul SB said...

Larry,

Regarding that article about Trump supporters plans to revolt if Trump doesn't win, you know that 99% of it is just tough-guy talk. But for every 100 tough guys who are nothing bur gas bags, there's going to be some twisted fool in the vein of Timothy McVeigh who will actually do something - like those Sovereign Citizen retards for got caught planning to blow up an apartment complex in Kansas last month. Before we had the technology to make rapid-fire weapons and ubiquitous explosives, a kook like that might swing a sword around or shoot one random victim with his musket, then get jumped by the crowd trying to reload or smacked from behind with a chair.

With Dave Sim's use of redwoods, way to do cyclic history! But why did he choose a sodium chloride bomb? Was it just a way to mythologize the saltiness of the oceans? In the comic my daughter has been making, a character invents a carbon dioxide bomb, which in a way takes the theme from the 20th C atom bomb apocalypse to the 21st C environmental catastrophe, and makes more sense than an NaCl bomb. I'm not sure what Sims was getting at, or if it is just an artifact of a poor science education on his part. Doesn't the cyclic history argument get a little tired, anyway? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've seen this all before! It feeds into the nihilistic narrative that nothing ever changes, so why bother? His central character, unable to ever get past his gender stereotypes, made his own life miserable, which made the story seem a little pedantic. But in the end it came across as a hand-wringing "nothing will ever change" narrative.

LarryHart said...

Hamish:

I appreciate the argument here, but is this not parallel to Trump's deflection of accusations of sexism misogyny by pointing at Bill Clinton's past misdeeds?

* * *

I was referring to your comments in re the Bush emails. The parallel being the comparison between current "scandals" and the actions of former presidents.


I can't speak for our host--just myself. Caveat emptor.

You're on stronger ground about the sexual misconduct than about the e-mail thing (which has suddenly become topical again). If Trump's defense is "Look, I was only doing what seems normal for powerful male celebrities, as evidenced by Secretary Clinton's husband," there's a bit of substance there.

To that, I would counter that maybe we're seeing why electing the host of "Celebrity Apprentice" to the presidency isn't a good idea. What's normative behavior in one role seems degrading in the other. President Bill Clinton was embarrassed by the Monica Lewinski for political reasons, even though the relationship was consensual. It's not that he did something criminal with "that woman"--just that it was unseemly to have such goings on in the public discourse. In an earlier age, the mere accusation would have driven Bill to resign before the impeachment hearings. One reason Republicans detest Bill so much is that he not only didn't let the embarrassment drive him from office, he beat the impeachment and finished his term.

Trump's accusers who say he forced himself on them have Trump himself as a corroborating witness. The accusations also fit a pattern that is evident in other aspects of Trump's character: He's a bully and a narcissist. Those are the characteristics I don't want anywhere near the Oval Office.

So I see a personal difference between Trump and Bill Clinton--not to mention the fact that Bill isn't running for office--but if you see it differently, I can take your point.

The e-mail thing, I see less as a criminal matter as one of office protocol. Remember, e-mail was a fairly new thing during the Clinton and then Bush administrations. As our friend Alfred might say, there was no way to fully plan in advance the impact of new modalities with all of the ramifications. If the normal thing to do for Bill Clinton's and Bush's Secretaries of State was to use government e-mail for strict official business while holding private conversations (even about official business) on a separate system to avoid public scrutiny, then that's not so much a case of them "breaking the rules too" as it is of creating the rules. In 2009, Secretary Clinton would have been in the position that I am in when I start a new job at a new office--get to know the unwritten rules by seeing what the veterans do. When I started a programming job 15 years ago, a co-worker gave me a group of production user id's and passwords that everyone used to manually run production jobs. Many years later, those passwords were changed and kept secret because the company was more concerned with audit trails. The rules changed. But in the earlier time, if you would have said to me, "You were wrong to use those user ids, and just because others were wrong doesn't mitigate your crime," I would have argued the point. What other people do in plain sight as normal business and don't get reprimanded for is not "wrong" in any discernible sense.

What Dr Brin seems to say is not so much "Bush's people did worse things, so don't blame Hillary" so much as "Hillary was just following the example set before her. If anything, Bush's people acted with more malice aforethought and caused more harm (to investigations against themselves) by their actions. So if you're not going to complain about what they did, it's awfully darned hypocritical to condemn Hillary." A subtle difference, maybe, but I think a good one.


LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Doesn't the cyclic history argument get a little tired, anyway? Yeah, yeah, yeah, we've seen this all before! It feeds into the nihilistic narrative that nothing ever changes, so why bother?


Funny, I saw Dave (Sim) as saying almost the opposite. If we do something of significance, it does matter, not just for this particular cycle of history, but echoing down through the depths of time.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

That's exactly what I thought when I read it the first time, and that's how I would like to remember it. It's certainly Suentius Po's take, and at that point it seemed like that character was speaking for the author, especially when his speech suddenly went more colloquial. But the more I thought about his central character, the more it seemed like he was arguing for inevitability. In his cameo appearances he made the point that the little guy just would not change, would never even try to improve and would inevitably live his life as a stereotype. But I suppose you could read that two ways.

Paul SB said...

Donzelion,

What are you doing Halloween? As a time to meet it has the advantage that, not knowing each other's faces, we can home in on costumes. I called and they will be open until 10.

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB:
Not to turn this into the suburbs of the Cerebus list ;) ...

By writing a 300-issue graphic novel over the course of 26 years, I think Dave Sim taught us that such a project is essentially flawed. The idea was that, unlike Superman or the X-Men, this would be a consistent story written by a single author. But 2004-Dave had become a very different person from 1977-Dave. The author of the end of "Church and State" had a very different worldview from the author of "Latter Days", even though they are the same human being.

Jumper said...

I think in the USA the "trade schools" hide in the university setting. My good impression of NC State just keeps rising. Their materials research is outstanding but runs from quantum theory actions in thin films to concrete and asphalt. I think many engineering schools are in effect good trade schools. Texas A&M comes to mind.

donzelion said...

Paul SB: This year, I'll probably be in Anaheim at the girlfriend's house, handing out candy and working on a brief that's due Nov 1 (indeed, usually I come here to take breaks from that sort of writing). Halloween's not likely to work, but perhaps later this week?

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "It's not that [Bill Clinton] did something criminal with "that woman"--just that it was unseemly to have such goings on in the public discourse. In an earlier age, the mere accusation would have driven Bill to resign before the impeachment hearings."

Ahem, sexual exploits have been fair targets in American politics from the earliest ages of our country - starting from Hamilton's accusation of Jefferson in a newspaper re sleeping with 'one of his slaves' in an earlier age, Hamilton accused Jefferson of sleeping with Sally Hemings (who was one of his slaves) (I neglected to mention that as a key aspect of the rift between Madison, who loved Jefferson like a big brother, and Hamilton.)

Difference is that at the end of the day, Hamilton loved America, as did Jefferson and Madison. Trump loves Trump. We have absolutely no evidence of any love for America, and on every position he now advocates, he's flip-flopped back and forth whenever it served his interest.

"Remember, e-mail was a fairly new thing during the Clinton and then Bush administrations."
Actually, it was Crackberry that was new, and not endorsed by many government offices for a variety of reasons (e.g., rules against entrusting secure U.S. messages to a Canadian company's encryption system) - and that prompted bureaucrats to set up their own servers. They added email to crackberry capabilities more to simplify their lives than anything else.

"So if you're not going to complain about what they did, it's awfully darned hypocritical to condemn Hillary." A subtle difference, maybe, but I think a good one."
Concur. But I think it's problematic in that many of the "lock her up!" chanters would just as quickly lock up EVERYONE in government (guilty or innocent) simply to express their nebulous alienation.

Paul SB said...

Donzelion,

Sexual scandals have been used to ruin political opponents for as long as leaders have been elected. When Ken Starr first went after Uncle Bill, I referred to it as "Parnelling" the President. Charles Stewart Parnell had the best chance of anyone to bring peace to Ireland back in the 19th C., but for an affair that ended his career. Anyone know of any such scandals from The Roman Republic, Classical Athens, or any of the little Italian republics? My history brain is out of order at the moment. I was rather confused that Clinton was impeached and yet continued to serve as president, while Nixon resigned to avoid impeachment.

Bummer about Halloween. How are you for weekends? My weekdays are usually wiped out by work and family.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Hamilton accused Jefferson of sleeping with Sally Hemings (who was one of his slaves)


Not to disagree with you, but I'll bet there were plenty of southern slave-owners who thought "So? Doesn't everybody do that?" It also seems to me that, back then, making that sort of accusation would have reflected as badly on Hamilton as it did on Jefferson.


"So if you're not going to complain about what they did, it's awfully darned hypocritical to condemn Hillary." A subtle difference, maybe, but I think a good one."

Concur. But I think it's problematic in that many of the "lock her up!" chanters would just as quickly lock up EVERYONE in government (guilty or innocent) simply to express their nebulous alienation.


But that just puts them in the same category as the ones who "Don't like it when either party runs up the deficit," but only makes that statement when a Democrat is in power. Likewise, if they say to "lock up EVERYONE in government", they're only saying that now.

Paul SB said...

Jumper,

You're right about that, though in most cases the community colleges serve the function of Arbeitschulen, but the problem is still our prestige system. Employers are more likely to hire people with a degree from a 4-year than anything else, even if a certificate from a CC is exactly what is called for.

locumranch said...



It is hard to tell which of two groups is more despicable: The first group of powerful Dracula-like 'Predators' that prey upon the innocent; or, the second group of Renfield-like Enablers that procure & pimp for those predatory monsters out of perverted self-interest.

We all agree that D. Hastert, D. Trump & B. Clinton belong to the first group of predators, the only thing WORSE being those individuals who enable, lure & procure for those monsters.

That said, it's nice to H. Clinton & her top aid hoisted on their own petard-like Weiner.

Best

donzelion said...

LarryHart: Hamilton accused Jefferson of sleeping with Sally Hemings (who was one of his slaves) "...I'll bet there were plenty of southern slave-owners who thought "So? Doesn't everybody do that?"
Doubtless correct, but also doubtless they preferred it be kept under wraps.

"...back then, making that sort of accusation would have reflected as badly on Hamilton as it did on Jefferson."
Indeed, and hence when Burr shot Hamilton, many applauded. As now, demonizing an "enemy" and expressing alienation 'trumped' decency (and indeed, the Adams/Hamilton approach to national defense MIGHT have repelled the British in the War of 1812 - Jefferson's 'yeoman force' was a laughingstock until the one battle in which it was supported by Cajun Orleaners who knew how to fight). Such a tragic waste.

"But that just puts them in the same category as the ones who "Don't like it when either party runs up the deficit," but only makes that statement when a Democrat is in power."
Indeed. If they were really bothered by the deficit, they'd have voted for Al Gore and continued the policy of paying it all down and then building up the social security trust fund.

"...if they say to "lock up EVERYONE in government", they're only saying that now."
The bitter outrage was present even when Bush Jr. was in power, but it was redirected, circus-like, at the "war on Christmas" and the "culture war" and the "save Terri Schiavo" movements. They had no shortage of targets to attack (an entire phantom axis of evil). But the core was always the same: let the rich get phenomenally richer, feel anger at anyone or anything suggesting a problem, attack attack attack the declining civilization - and do nothing as a financial storm brews except HOPE that your servants are fast enough to save your fortune at 5 seconds to midnight before the clock strikes.

Our friend Locum feels comfort in his bitterness, as is his right. But the net effect of cynical bitterness is to shut down reason itself, replace it with habit of obsessive dogma - to think in terms of 'here are all my enemies, how do I hate them, let me count the ways - once more, and then again after that' - rather than to look at real problems in the real world and try to fix them.

Scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs - creators of all types cannot approach life that way while contributing anything of merit. So it went with the Hamilton haters, who demonized him for decades without ever acknowledging anything good that he contributed. So it can go with any of us who give way to hate.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@locumranch

I never can understand how Republicans always try to use the false equivalence argument, over and over. If your guy is guilty of murder and the other guy is guilty of jaywalking, they are not the same thing.
Weiner, husband of an aide to Hillary, is accused of sexually inappropriate behaviour with a 15 year old. Somehow this makes Hillary, who had nothing to do with that, the exact same as Trump, who is facing one and possibly two civil suits alleging child rape.
How can you possibly equate the two. Two level of ethical and intellectual degradation do you have to reach before you can conclude that one annuls the other and sets the candidates as equals.
Nor is it just whether your 2016 candidate is involved in kiddy-diddling or not (what a miserable year this is!); it's pretty much on every level. Republicans like to complain that Hillary failed at foreign policy, forgetting to mention they pretty much destroyed the middle east and alienated Russia. And Trump is the one who thinks all these potential combatants in the ME or east Asia should all have nukes. He also thinks if we have nukes, we should use them.
Yes, Hillary is a hawk, and no, I don't like that. But she's a sane hawk--Trump is not.

donzelion said...

Paul SB: "Sexual scandals have been used to ruin political opponents for as long as leaders have been elected...anyone know of any such scandals from The Roman Republic, Classical Athens, or any of the little Italian republics?"
My guess is that the historians of the day steered clear of such scandals. We have David & Bathsheba, but that was probably written down centuries after it occurred (if it ever occurred); so too with Helen of Troy. It wasn't easy to scribe history contemporaneously, and the Romans were the first in the West to recognize how useful doing so could be for propaganda: Augustus Caesar deployed morality as a tool to purge leaders he opposed and cement his empire: many have followed suit. I would guess scandal was used in a low-literate era mainly to challenge a legacy post facto, rather than to challenge an existing leader's place.

How are you for weekends? My weekdays are usually wiped out by work and family.
Weekends are usually better. I've been staying in Anaheim rather than Glendora lately on account of some repairs being done to my apartment, but will be around next weekend. How about Saturday, 11 am, at the yogurt place on Lone Hill & Route 66 (the Stater Bro's strip mall)?

David Brin said...

In order to push their false equivalence insanity, the confeds have to call ankle high molehills the same as Everest-high mountains.

Clinton's extremely minor and utterly harm free slightly-doofus email errors outweigh GW Bush erasing 22 MILLION emails to block investigation of his firing 8 federal prosecutors who were plumbing Bush-Cheney thefts of billions. Like the 49 billion in raw cash Cheney sent on pallets to Baghdad, that "vanished" and the gopper committees never held a single hearing.

Read that over again locumranch. Your side is insane and so are you, if you can envision equivalence.

OUTCOMES are good under dems and awful under goppers. Your armwave incantations do not change that. Nor the fact that your cult wages war on every profession that actually knows stuff.

All you can do is make up stories that all smart people who know stuff are in a (completely illogical and counterfactual) monolithic conspiracy against "real" people like you, who are NOT smart and do not know stuff.

Okay, I confess. It's true. We are conspiring to save our nation and species.

From you.

David Brin said...

onward

onward

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB,

I'm not saying I don't care if the Cubs win. I'm just saying that winning the World Series is a second thing to root for--that the National League championship was also a big deal, and that's in the bag already, no matter what happens tonight.

Also, you were sounding as if the series was lost already, and that's not the case.

No, I don't still have those old baseball cards. I also don't keep my old comics in mint or near-mint condition. I read them. So no retirement yet. :)

LarryHart said...

Not sure what's wrong with me. That was meant for the more recent post.

Keep onward

...
onward!

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