Saturday, November 05, 2016

Winding up. It's about our future...

Okay, we're winding up. The next few days should tell us a lot about this generation of the republic and the American Experiment. It has certainly brought home to me the self-indulgent differences between blogging and old-style journalism! And the day after the election... if we aren't packing for New Zealand... I plan to allocate more time to science fiction.

But first: more grist for you undecideds out there. Or for those who see a bit of wavering in their beloved-but-crazy uncles...


100 things about Donald Trump, any one of which is far worse than Hillary Clinton making the same procedural mistake with emails as Colin Powell and George W. Bush and Condoleeza Rice. (Seriously? Email procedures? That's all you got?) Quibble: the writer of this piece should have put policy matters first, instead of last. 

Anyway, I could cite 3 dozen more Trump/GOP lunacies, off the top of my head. Like the pure fact that Republicans slash the budgets for auditors and investigators at the IRS and SEC and try to cripple the CFPB, with only one conceivable aim - that of easing the way for white collar crime. Democrats want those agencies on the job. Lay that stark difference (plus the EPA and the War on Science) before those preening-cynical Bernie-bros out there! (Get them to picture alternate worlds of 4 years from now, when they can try again, or not!) Those claiming "there's no difference" are clinically insane.

As for your crazy, confederate uncle, none of this will likely persuade him. But recite it all to him anyway! Because your aunt is quietly listening.
And now this.  Win or lose, Republicans are now vowing Total War.  Let's be clear. The aim of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was always the destruction of American politics as a means of adult negotiation, in the United States of America. That outright treason can only be stopped if we cauterize their version of the GOP out of Congress and statehouses.  Tell your Republican friends to send us grownups, in 2018.

Wow. Jim Wright is amazing. See his latest posting, Pragmatism. He doesn't put things in quite the same terminology I would. But this ex-military, raised-conservative believer in free enterprise lays it down hard and clear. That the undead vampires who have hijacked American conservatism need to be sent packing. Wright's missive may not convert anyone's crazy uncle. But show it to your wavering cousin.

== His Grace Note ==


President Obama is apparently determined to make the final phase of his presidency about science and technology. He's always been a supporter, boosting the activity levels of the White House OSTP (Office of Science and Technology Policy) to new levels, including two visit-talks by yours truly, in the last 6 months. 

OSTP's big endeavors include Computer Science for All, a big move to get Computer Science and programming back into the public schools.  I also participated in an OSTP event in LA around Andy Weir's The Martian book and movies - which culminated in last week's  major Obama speech about Mars.  Now two more steps:  the White House Frontiers Conference brought together innovators from across the country to focus on how science and technology is shaping the 21st century, and particularly the role of innovation in building smarter and more inclusive communities, with a special focus on the coming 5G revolution. 

Obama has called for preparations to be made for “extreme space weather events,” such as solar flares capable of causing catastrophic damage to Earth’s critical infrastructure

Oh, and he's a Trekkie! Barack Obama, WIRED editor in chief Scott Dadich and MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito discuss the original Star Trek series and what it reveals about our common humanity.  

Compare this to the relentless, ongoing and volcanic Fox-GOP War on Science, and every other knowledge profession - a trait shared by both Donald Trump and his supporters with Paul Ryan and the Bush Clan.

And after he leaves office?  Proving him to be one of our smarter presidents, Barack Obama apparently has realized something that almost no one in America noticed.  That the real foundations of power in America are in the state legislatures, where gerrymandering and other corrupt practices have taken deep root. The Democratic Party, in close consultation with the White House, has launched a new political group “which will coordinate campaign strategy, direct fundraising, organize ballot initiatives and put together legal challenges to state redistricting maps,” Politico reported. Former Attorney General Eric Holder will chair the new group, named the National Democratic Redistricting Committee. And Obama himself, as Politico writes, has “identified the group … as the main focus of his political activity once he leaves office.”

(Note you democrats in Illinois and Maryland, rise up!  As we did in California, Oregon and Washington, where voters ended gerrymandering-by-democrats! It proved to be the right thing to do. Once you cleanse that horrid crime, it will be a treason only associated with the Republican Party.  Make it that clearcut.)

Back to Obama's retirement plan. Noteworthy is the stark and diametric difference between how Republican ex-presidents behave than Democratic ones do. Sitting on a ranch and holding court (Ford, Reagan, Bush & Bush) vs. frenzied foundation work to fight poverty or disease (Carter & Clinton). This reinforces my longstanding diagnosis. The divide is not "left-vs-right." (Entrepreneurship and enterprise always do better under democrats.) 


It is manic vs depressive. Dig it: the last 5 GOP Congresses were the laziest in the history of the republic, passing no budgets, even! That laziness, rather than their dogmatic nastiness, was their most telling trait.


The parties represent the bipolar sides of our split national personality. And I am sick of being held back by a pack of Eeyores. 

== Obstinate Dogma Trumps Even Religion ==

One side effect of the recent U.S. election has been to illuminate just how much more powerful dogmatic political hate can be, than either science or religion.  The confederate war on science (and every other knowledge caste) has meant that scientists cannot – for example – combat denialism using facts.  Not even tsunamis or facts.  Not even the U.S. Navy can get through to our confed neighbors.

Now more confirmation: Pope Francis issued an encyclical that acknowledges human-caused climate change as an unavoidable reality and frames action as a moral imperative. Many hoped that this might have an impact among Catholics who still doubted climate science.  Alas in many cases “they stuck to their guns and criticized the pope’s statements.”   

Of course this is related to the deeply puzzling question of why Donald Trump – the opposite to Jesus in almost every conceivable way – drew such strong support from fundamentalist Christians who, one might imagine, ought to support a woman who is a Methodist teacher of Bible studies classes over a philandering-cheating-scofflaw-gambling-lord with mob ties who disrespects women and screws his laborers.  

The answer is easy: no other factor matters, when you share the same enemies.

== A failed political zoology ==

The Future of Republicanism: Yonatan Zunger attempts to describe what’s about to happen to U.S. conservatism: “The world we’re likely to see after the 2016 election isn’t one where the existing Republican coalition regroups in some fashion. That coalition has been thoroughly destroyed, first by the Tea Party and now by Trump.”  In so doing, he creates a list of six basic American political factions:

The “social left:” concerned with the personal rights of individual members of society, especially when those rights conflict with the preferences of majorities.

The “economic left:” concerned with the tremendous surge in economic inequality, and seeing its rectification as the overwhelming priority of government.

The “libertarian right:” concerned with the increasing burden of government regulations on daily life, wanting to be left alone. (Centered in the West and in certain economic circles elsewhere)

The “religious right:” concerned with the moral pollution of our society, especially with the behaviors which the social left wants to “protect.”

The “business right:” the advocates of conservative political thought, a focus on traditionalism, economic conservatism, and especially of stopping Communism.

The “populist right:” who see themselves as representing “true America,” and think that the government has been helping everyone else at their expense for far too long.

This attempted zoology seems sincere… and is utter malarkey, in more ways than I can begin to count.  So I will focus on just one.

It leaves out a majority of Americans who are pragmatic, positive-sum personalities and not dogmatic fanatics!

Especially, he shrugs aside the dominant component of the Democratic Party Coalition, which I’d call “Smithian Pragmatic Centrists”. These are folks in the FDR-Truman-Clinton tradition who are despised by the left as compromising “DNC democrats,” whose fealty is given to positive sum outcomes. 

In other words, they seek to nurture a mixed society that follows Adam Smith’s prescription: In order to maximize the output of capitalist markets, you must first maximize the number of free and capable competitors.

Smithian Centrists like all the goody-goody things, e.g. to expand tolerance and inclusion and free education and health for all children — but there is a pragmatic underpinning to their liberalism, because (as Adam Smith himself said) markets are most productive when talent is not wasted through poverty, class or prejudice. Moreover, if the input of healthy competitors is maximized then so will be the taxable output, allowing that positive-sun effect to flourish, letting more funds be spent on priming the pump. And on goody-lefty things.

It is understandable that Mr. Zunger ignores this faction, though it describes a majority of democrats (and some republicans) far better than any “leftist” appellation. That is because the SPG types don’t fit anywhere along a hoary, stupid, obsolete and lobotomizing so-called “left-right axis,” a metaphor we should drop (if for no other reason) because it is French.

Evidence for the importance of this category can be found in simple outcomes comparison. The fact that every large-scale attributable metric of US national health does better across democratic administrations, including such conservative desiderata as economic output, rate of change of deficits, military readiness and rates of entrepreneurship. This blatant fact is inexplicable according to Mr. Zunger’s bestiary. But it makes sense when you add in the tens of millions of American Smithian Pragmatic Centrists.

Oh sure, members of the SPC faction may choose to call themselves slightly “lefty” while being browbeaten into feeling guilty, because their leftist neighbors seem more passionate. This is unfortunate, since the SPCs are the true heirs to the world’s only pragmatically moderate and militantly reasonable revolution.  They are the only ones who see this as a win-win, positive sum game.

Moreover, SPCs are the ultimate answer to the insipid National Review (NR) conservatives, who claim to be defenders of enterprise, markets, entrepreneurship and all things Smithian… when all of those things are far, far better engendered by Smithian Pragmatic Centrist democrats. 

The NR faction invokes Adam Smith as a mantric shield, a totem to distract from their real role as the rationalizers of oligarchy. They are spokesmen for a return to the kinds of inherited wealth and privilege and power that made life hell for all our ancestors, for 6000 years.

They are proto feudalists. And Adam Smith — who knew the enemy of flat-open-fair market competition was always oligarchy — would have told the NR apologists to go to hell.

Almost-final notes...

G.W. Bush - the worst president of my lifetime, except for his even-worse father - said: “Sometimes it takes a while for people to, uh, give you credit.”

Um, credit for what? Name one major, unambiguously attributable metric of U.S. national health that improved across the span of either Bush administration.  Take your time.  In contrast, ALL of them improved across Clinton and Obama terms.  Including conservative desires like moving toward budget balancing, small business startups and military readiness.

See it laid out in simple outcomes comparison. The GOP should not be trusted with a burnt match.

And this: The chairman of the biggest oil company in the world, Exxon, finally spoke up about climate change. And guess what? It's happening. It's potentially disastrous. And we are causing it. "Exxon had come under investigation by New York's attorney general for allegedly misleading the public on climate change. Its shareholders wanted answers, too."

Most of the other oil-cos have already done this, touting their efforts to swing investment to renewables. The delaying tactics that worked so well (as they had for tobacco) are now "done."

So where does that leave your crazy uncle, glued to science-hating Fox and Breitbart? 


Again, pointing out that he has no facts will not sway him...

...but your aunt is quietly listening.

== Then there is the Earth==

Not the novel (though that's good, too!  No. We're talking about our home, in peril from fools.


One hears cynics shrug and use the ultimate denialist fallback position, after 30 years of moving goalposts, they say: “It’s already too late to prevent climate change.”

Perhaps, but to paraphrase Kim Stanley Robinson, the question is not 'is it too late?' because answering either yes or no can lead to inaction. 

The real question is 'How much can we still save'?" 
  
So take action. If you aren't in a battleground state, go ahead and vote Johnson or Stein if you like, "to build cred," but then take a torch to the GOP, down ticket!

If you are in a battleground state? Go thee forth. Volunteer to help get out the vote. It's time for patriotism. It's time for your children and the Earth. You will be asked about this, in future years.  


Have a good answer.


113 comments:

Mudpuddle said...

the sound of sanity in a cracked liberty bell... tx...

Paul SB said...

"Smithian Pragmatic Centrists" might just be too long a name for many people to latch onto, but since Adam Smith has been hijacked by the right wing, it's understandable that you would want another name. Maybe if we have a right wing and left wing, and both of these are kind of flighty, the SPC's could safely be called the "meat in the middle?" Okay, that might be seen as a little too crass by a lot of people, but Centrist sounds too much like "waffle" to most people, and Pragmatist sounds too haughty (implying that those others aren't pragmatic, an insult to their intelligence {though in most cases I would agree}). My next thought was Non-Dogmatist. That would be insulting to the left/right people, but it makes a point. People who sit in one camp or the other and refuse to negotiate just gum up the system.

Anyone have other ideas for a shorter, bumper-sticker names for those who are willing to do what it takes and not just cling to old dogmas? Or am I phrasing the question in a leading way?

Helena Williams said...


A good shorter, bumper-sticker name I think is powerful and of value is 'The Progressive Party." or "Progressive.
"

occam's comic said...

Sense I am the only one has said that 'dangerous climate change in the northern hemisphere is unavoidable' I would like to point our that i have never been a climate change denier. I have always voted for the least bad candidates and donated time and money to candidates that I thought were good on climate change. I have made person changes is my life to reduce my usage of fossil fuels. In my professional life i have been moderately successful in reducing waste and energy usage internally at the corporation i work for and some of our customers. And for all my life the climate problem has gotten worse and worse. A few months ago I realized what i had long feared was going to come true: we have waited too long and the natural feedback loops have kicked in and that dangerous climate is now unavoidable.

I think that it is important that we recognize the reality of the situation because there is much we can save but there is also a lot that we can't. The more time, effort and money we spend on things we can't save is a giant waste and it carries with it a huge opportunity cost. For example we know that most of Florida will be lost to sea level rise, why should we spend money building infrastructure there trying to stop it?


LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Let's be clear. The aim of Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes was always the destruction of American politics as a means of adult negotiation, in the United States of America.


It galls me that Murdoch, an Australian, was given preferential treatment to be naturalized as an American in order to facilitate his imposition of FOX News on the body politic. If Trump's views on immigration were realized, Rupert Murdoch would be on the other side of a wall. And if Trump's policy on keeping out foreigners who "don't share our values" were realized, Murdoch wouldn't even be allowed in on a tourist visa.

LarryHart said...

Mudpuddle:

the sound of sanity in a cracked liberty bell...


No surprise to anyone that there's a bit about that in "Hamilton" :


I wrote my way out of hell.
I wrote my way to revolution.
I was louder than the crack in the bell.
I wrote Eliza love letters until she fell.
I wrote about The Constitution and defended it well.
And in the face of ignorance and resistance,
I wrote financial systems into existence.
And when my prayers to God were met with indifference,
I picked up a pen, I wrote my own deliverance!

locumranch said...



How do I put this bluntly? "To expand tolerance and inclusion and free education and health for all children ," this is NOT Classical Liberalism but leftist Social Liberalism & Progressivism.

Classical Liberalism means leaving the population alone (more or less) so they may find their own way using trial & error, whereas Social Liberalism means treating the population like ignorant, undisciplined & bulliable children.

Fortunately, many individuals refuse these directives; they do not cooperate when commanded to do so; and they also take pleasure in doing the things that aren't prudent, reasonable or allowed.

They act impulsively, eat indelicately, behave indolently, over-exert, take foolish risks, launch themselves towards the stars, thrill seek, smoke, drink & drug, play the lottery, embrace aberrant sexuality, defy authority and they ENJOY these actions immensely.

They repeat these ill-conceived 'error mode' behaviours, leading to adverse consequences & outcome, over & over again because they enjoy it. Sometimes, they even succeed. Rather than subservient obedience, it is this defiant attitude which will lead humanity to the stars.

And, what happens to our most progressive, responsible, scientific & level-headed Teetotalers?

They ban these ill-conceived behaviours in order to protect themselves & their societies; they outlaw creativity because change involves potential risk; they avoid all experience in order to avoid the adverse ones; they deprive themselves of pleasure to avoid pain; they lead longer & less interesting lives full of quiet desperation; they fail because they are too afraid to try; and they become tyrants, egomaniacs & prohibitionists intent on a 'final solution'.

They are the first put up against the wall when the revolution comes.


Best
______

And when Larry_H's pleas to Almighty Government were met with indifference,
He picked up a pen, filled out forms in triplicate & begged for official forgiveness!!

7:00 PM

Kal Kallevig said...

Alfred
from the last thread Serious and expensive? Maybe. I might even say Probably. However, the world is becoming wealthier at quite a clip. Expensive relative to world GDP? Maybe not.

There is an implicit assumption here that wealth and GDP are the same thing, or at least closely related in a positive fashion.

No doubt there are multiple definitions, but I think of wealth as the resources available to do stuff. A definition I learned along the way for money comes close: the ability to command goods and services. But as you have stated, modern money is just a form of debt. So real wealth has nothing to do with money, it is the natural resources available to accomplish what we need to do.

GDP is the rate at which those resources are being used, and often not just used but transformed so that they are no longer useful. The prime example of this is energy. In the case of carbon based energy we are transforming it into CO2 which is not only no longer useful to us but is actively damaging. So you could make the case that GDP is the measure of how fast we are consuming wealth. The planet is finite. The resources are finite. Wealth is not increasing.

You made the point that some future magic will remove the CO2 from our atmosphere, but if it is to do so it must be done within the then available energy budget. As a practical matter this means solar and wind. In order for this renewable energy to be available it will have to be constructed using carbon based energy, it is what we have. The more of the existing budget we spend on current GDP the less will be available to build what we need and the greater the need will be.

To date there is no energy fairy.

David Brin said...

“How do I put this bluntly? "To expand tolerance and inclusion and free education and health for all children ," this is NOT Classical Liberalism but leftist Social Liberalism & Progressivism”

No, it is simultaneously simple human decency and the pragmatic way to ensure that talent is not wasted. To call it socialism is the prattle of a stunted mind, since this is what Adam Smith — yes, Adam freaking Smith - said we should do, in order to maximize the feedstock for competitive, flat-open-fair markets.

Calling yourself a “liberal” or anything other than the very essence of everything Adam Smith would despise and fought against all his life, is beyond stupid. It is simply a joke.

Yet again, the strawman is not us, bozo. And you attempt to use liberal values against is, in ways that amount simply to parody.

LarryHart said...

Apologies to our British friends for not remembering Guy Fawkes day until it's already over in your time zone.

It does remind me of this appropriate sequence from the graphic novel "V For Vendetta", in which the Fawkes-masked protagonist emotes this monologue, a sort of "You want me back, but too late" letter to the statue of justice outside London's Old Bailey :


I've long admired you ...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child.

I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say, "Isn't she pretty?"

Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

That was a long time ago. I'm afraid there's someone else now...

"What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!"

I, madame? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

Ah-ha! THAT surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know abut your little fling, but I do. I know everything!

Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

"Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one..."

LIAR! SLUT! WHORE! Deny that you let him have his way with you. Him with his armbands and jackboots.

Well? Cat got your tongue?

Very well. So, you stand revealed at last. You are no longer MY Justice. You are his Justice now. You have bedded another.

Well, two can play at that game!

"Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?"

Her name is ANARCHY, and she has taught me more as a mistress than you EVER did!

She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel.

I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now, I know.

So goodbye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.



Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB: squeezing out the Ferrel
They can for a short time, but beautiful chaos results. Air coming down meets up with air coming up. That shear will turn and give birth to bits of the Ferrel cell again.

Fluid flow simulators are mesmerizing when they try to show this chaos. I could stare at good ones and get no work done at all. It's a good thing the computational demands are large or I'd have set up screen savers doing this at work. 8)

As for the Anasazi, they didn't have the depth of wealth we have now. I'm not suggesting we should do nothing and let this expense land on us, but we already show what this wealth can do. Drive up onto the desert north of you and see that we can cope with a dry environment. The question is just HOW expensive it will be when climate pushes us around. Can our economic growth cope? Maybe if change is slow. Maybe not if it is rapid. That is the foundation of occam's comic's fear. I think the story speaking of the demise of the northern Ferrel cell is a ghost story, though.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: I shall have to get a copy of that one now. I knew it was good, but I never got around to buying it.

Of course she likes a man in uniform. For most of her history, they were the only men she took to bed. Okay... Uniforms and Crowns. She was complicit in the ancient regime.

hadend said...

I’m sorry to see your brain worms have continued unabated, Dr. Brin.

Alfred Differ said...

@occam's comic: I lived a couple of winters on a naval base in Iceland and a couple more in North Dakota. Those are both parts of the world where the ground melts in the spring releasing whatever chemistry got stalled in the fall. I recall the mud and smells, so I need no convincing of the danger of melting the permafrost.

Making Pliocene comparisons is fraught with danger though. The Tethys ocean is largely gone now. Panama exists now. The Atlantic is mostly cut off and that isn't going to change anytime soon. Temperature differential between equator and poles does drive a lot, but oceanic currents matter a lot too. Warming the north pole will warm the Atlantic, but but the large thermohaline circulation pattern still has to go south near Antarctica. The atmosphere can be modeled as two hemispheres, but the ocean currents can't.

If you want something to worry about, though, it isn't the demise of the northern Ferrel cell. Redirecting the global THC is what will change things. I learned a bit of that within two weeks of arriving in Iceland. A mostly spent hurricane made its way up to us along the Gulf Stream. Mostly spent is still terrible and I was living in a slum off base. I remember it raining inside. If that current shifted, Iceland would be like Greenland which is FAR worse for cold and wind even as the Arctic warms up. Iceland is actually pleasant in the summer otherwise.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart: I'm sure the strike is about attention on their issues. I've seen this before, but across the pond. In the pre-Thatcher era, the UK had some strikes I got to see when visiting relatives. There is nothing like a garbage strike during big events. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

I would prefer SBC party to Progressive party. I'm not convinced of the pragmatism of many progressives. They often have their hearts in the right place (making good allies for some of the Smithian levelers), but they often have a hard time facing evidence of a failure of an attempted solution. I know too many who find it far to easy to blame someone else for the failure when I'm more inclined to blame 'unintended consequences.' It is too easy to put a human face on the cause of a failure and make a scapegoat of them, so those who do fail my pragmatism test.

Smith's fellow Scots were pragmatic liberals in the old sense of the word before the progressives absconded with it in the US. On the old, hoary axis, we sit on both sides of the center, but not because we are waffles. Place another axis on the chart (authoritarian/libertarian) and it is obvious where we sit.

Free education and health care isn't really on the radar of old school liberals. Leveling the social classes IS. If free education and health care helps level, then it makes sense to support it. I'm sure it can be done that way. I'm sure it can be done the authoritarian way too. I have my preferences.

Alfred Differ said...

For my fellow Californians, I have done my duty and read up on all the initiatives that will appear on my ballot. I won't leave anything blank. If you feel swamped by the number of proposed constitutional amendments and initiative statutes, feel free to skip them and let my libertarian vote count for more. I know what's good for you.


8)


Yes. That is the sound of whip cracking. Please do your homework. Next time... please consider not signing so many of those petitions. I'm going to vote for TWO constitutional amendments because some of our fellow citizens were kind enough to allow me to take a crack at such fundamental rules. Is that wise? Heh.

Jumper said...

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too:
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream- -and not make dreams your master;
If you can think- -and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:.
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings,
And never breathe a word about your loss:
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on! '

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings- -nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much:
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And- -which is more- -you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling

Smurphs said...

A little long, but how's this for a bumper sticker:

Democrat: "I don't care who you f*ck"

Republican: "I don't care who you f*ck-over"

occam's comic said...

Good point about the oceans being one giant global system that is slow to change, and to truly understand the climate you need incorporate both the atmosphere and the ocean systems.
The reason I mentioned the pliocene is that it was a time when the earth had the south pole frozen and north pole warm. So Global Climate change may turn out to be rapid climate change in the northern hemisphere and relative climate stability in the southern hemisphere.

Over the next ten years I am fairly certain we will see the arctic sea ice completely melt out in late summer, so we will get a good hint at what that does to the atmospheric circulation patterns in the northern hemisphere.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

My next thought was Non-Dogmatist.


That would turn into a whole dog vs cat thing, with politicians bloviating about how much they love dogs, and their opponent wants to kill puppies.

Anyone have other ideas for a shorter, bumper-sticker names for those who are willing to do what it takes and not just cling to old dogmas?


Anything that sounds good has already been hijacked by Republicans to mean themselves.

Tim H. said...

Something amusing about the election, next week's New Yorker cover:
https://twitter.com/NewYorker/status/794511418091511808/photo/1
I think it works whoever wins...

Paul SB said...

Helena,

While I like "Progressive" because it is optimistic, the Nihilist Party has tarred that one a long time ago. Read anything loci writes and you'll see how huge Eeyorius segments of the country hear that word. I had an idea, though. It doesn't exactly answer my question, but maybe it would set the right tone in people's minds. A certain police officer - Judy Hops, to be specific - recent said something cute.

"Life's a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker."

Maybe if a whole bunch of us put that on bumper stickers, people who see it might start having second thoughts about how they are being manipulated. Or am I being optimistic?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

And when Larry_H's pleas to Almighty Government were met with indifference,
He picked up a pen, filled out forms in triplicate & begged for official forgiveness!!


Bad poetry and bad biography, signifying nothing.

You willfully mistake my attitude about preferring Hillary and Democrats over Trump and Republicans. It's not because I think the Democrats will make life wonderful. It's because I know that Republicans will make life horrible. I don't want Democratic Supreme Court justices because I expect them to give me stuff--I want to avoid Republican ones who will declare our rights and protections null and void in the same breath they claim to be "constitutionalists".

You do indeed have the right to be stupid. You can vote for an authoritarian to free you from government authority, just as you can drive west to reach New York City. But when the stupid thing you are free to do turns out to have undesirable results which were nevertheless obvious to all but the most obtuse, then as Herman Cain put it, "Blame yourself."

Paul SB said...

Larry,

I haven't heard anyone use the word /bloviating/ in ages! Word power! Did I ever tell you my cenotaph story?

Your quote from "V for Vendetta" sounds a little too much like the kind of thing our trolls have in mind. Justice is never truly justice, honesty isn't really honest, and anarchy is what we need to throw down all those goody-goody smarty-pants who want to stop us from beating up kids on the playground, or whatever other reprehensible things we hold dear in our hearts. It's too easy to go from one extreme to the other, and that kind of pendular motion never really balances out. That image of justice is justice in name only - a slogan to prop up the powerful. The price of crying anarchy is that you abandon true justice, disposing the baby with the (named) bathwater.

Paul SB said...

Smurphs,

If Republicans were honest, their bumper sticker would read:

"We're going to f*ck YOU over."

Jumper,

Not a lot of people meet Kipling's definition of a "man." It's too bad he lived in an era when "man" meant "adult" and women were not expected to be capable of being the latter. We need a good definition of "adult" now.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@LarryHart: I'm sure the strike is about attention on their issues. I've seen this before, but across the pond. In the pre-Thatcher era, the UK had some strikes I got to see when visiting relatives. There is nothing like a garbage strike during big events.


I get all that. As I already said, I'm not claiming the strike was engineered specifically to help Trump. If their goal is to force an agreement to prevent disruptions on Election Day, I can understand their position. But if their goal is to get notoriety by disrupting Election Day, and if that disruption allows Trump to win, they will rue the day afterwards when they've lost more than they've gained.

If, like locumranch, they are practicing their God-given right to be stupid, then I don't begrudge them ruing the day. But before they mess up my life along with their own, I want to make sure they're not being accidentally stupid (a position they could be talked out of) rather then deliberately obstinate. And if, as the union lawyer's statement seems to suggest, they are purposefully hiding their real agenda, then I hope the union rank and file understands what they're supporting.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

"Life's a little bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker."

Maybe if a whole bunch of us put that on bumper stickers, people who see it might start having second thoughts about how they are being manipulated. Or am I being optimistic?


No, actually, that's so stupid it just might work.

:)

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Your quote from "V for Vendetta" sounds a little too much like the kind of thing our trolls have in mind...


Alan Moore is a very good and very complex writer of graphic novels. Neither his good guys nor his bad guys are one-dimensional. I would not myself be "V", even if I had the power, but the story is mesmerizing and inspiring. The ending, which I will not spoil, contains full recognition of what disquiets you.

I did understand even as I was typing that locumranch would find much to agree with in the sentiment expressed. So? I'm not against everything he claims to believe in. If anything, I agree with (some of) his goals, but think his proposed methods of getting there would result in the wrong outcome. He'd probably love the "V For Vendetta" graphic novel as much as I do, although for opposite reasons. He'd interpret the fascist government in place at the beginning of the story as representing "Blue State Progressives", whereas I see it as more "Donald Trump fascists".


Paul SB said...

Alfred,

I have seen self-styled "Progressives" deny unintended consequences just as you say, but do they do this any more than conservatives, liberals, libertarians, vegetarians or any other group of humans you care to name? This isn't just an issue for them. It's an issue for all human kind. And you humans have a lot of issues! This is where science is truly valuable. In science it doesn't matter where an idea comes from, it only matters if it works. If there are unintended consequences, science will find them, and with effort maybe find ways around them, if it is possible. NB: It isn't always possible, as Kal suggested with his comment on the Energy Fairy. No amount of money can buy what does not exist. In the case of a wildly oscillating climate, it isn't the technology to deal with it that would be the problem, it's getting 7 + billion people the solutions they need without massive panic and deadly chaos ensuing.)

Not long ago someone posted a side-by-side comparison between Trump and Hitler, and one of the comments on it was that Trump was born only 14 years after Hitler died, so he must be the reincarnation of Hitler. While I agree that Trump is likely to be as horrible a human being as Hitler was (as are a lot of people, who merely lack the opportunity to do the horrible things Hitler did), this is the kind of think science os made to counteract. Saying that one evil person is the reincarnation of a past evil person is basically saying that evil people are inevitable and cannot be stopped. They'll just keep being reborn. Now there's no unequivocal evidence for reincarnation to begin with, but I'm looking at unintended consequences here. Are swaggering fascist dictators inevitable, or do we make them with a culture that gives honor to those who are successful, regardless of how they succeed? If we honor the "winner" even if he cheated, lied, stole, murdered and raped his way to wealth and fortune, isn't the culture creating these monsters, bottle-feeding their monstrous egos with phrases like "smartest men in the room" "every man for himself" "kill or be killed" "survival of the fittest"? Maybe if the culture honored honesty and fairness more than power and wealth, we wouldn't be having this conversation, and we wouldn't have these candidates.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

This is the point that fools like loci never see:

"If, like locumranch, they are practicing their God-given right to be stupid, then I don't begrudge them ruing the day. But before they mess up my life along with their own, "

People who go on and on about their freedom don't ever want to calculate the effects their choices have on other people. They simply don't give a frog what they do to anyone else. As the world gets more crowded, their paradigm gets more dangerous, because the consequences of their stupidity affect more and more people. How does one person drinking themselves into a stupor affect anyone else? If it were just one person, society could absorb that. Millions of people thumbing their noses at society, cultivating negative identity complexes and the stupid behavior that promotes have huge consequences. Skyrocketing healthcare costs, just to start with. If loci lived out on the prairie with no one else around for miles, then he could be free to dance around naked, drink, use dangerous drugs, shoot his guns in random directions or whatever. This is not that world. It never really was, except in the dreams of the terminally self-centered.

No, actually, that's so stupid it just might work.

Maybe I have discovered my true talent!

I'll look into "V for Vendetta" but you know how my time goes. Happy (belated) Guy Fawkes Day!

locumranch said...



'IF' Kipling was running for public office today, then our Progressive friends would be quick to label him as a racist, sexist, populist, misogynist colonialist with little hands & a littler member, consigning him to their dankest PC hell full of other non-diverse Dead White Males who built the Enlightened West only to be discarded by it.

Those who invoke Adam Smith merely rationalise:

Equalism is (and has always been) incompatible with the concept of Merit; and, Meritocracy has always been (and remains) synonymous with Inequality.

All things being EQUAL, we can also dismiss Smurphs coital over-simplification because neither US Republicans nor Democrats can be considered 'liberal' in the classical sense of the word as both organisations unanimously support an elaborate & counterintuitive legal code in order to justify either an anti-populist Republican 'f*cking-over' or an ongoing Democrat affirmative consent pre-approval process for "who you f*ck".

In the name of 'Equalism' wherein all merits & creeds are declared equal, BOTH political parties have banished Adam's Smith's 'Liberalism' forever.

Likewise, many scientific comparisons became a joke the moment that it became forbidden to assess relative human merit.


Best

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

I haven't heard anyone use the word /bloviating/ in ages!


Somehow, I associate that word specifically with Rush Limbaugh.

LarryHart said...

locumranch has the right to say:

'IF' Kipling was running for public office today, then our Progressive friends would be quick to label him as a racist, sexist, populist, misogynist colonialist with little hands & a littler member,

Now you're spouting drivel, the way Dave Sim did when he insisted that liberals don't support a father's rights over his children and used Elian Gonzoles as an example. He apparently forgot that it was the conservatives who wanted Elian kept in the US, against his Cuban father's wishes. You've apparently forgotten that it was "Send them a conservative president" Marco Rubio who brought up little hands and what that signified.

consigning him to their dankest PC hell full of other non-diverse Dead White Males who built the Enlightened West only to be discarded by it.


But...you don't like the Enlightened West. You should be against the ones who built it and schaudenfraudally glad to watch them hoist on their own petard.

Tacitus2 said...

David

I wish you would expand upon the difference between blogging and old style journalism. Which do you consider to be self indulgent?

In some ways this election must please you even as it gives you great distress. With the information leaking out in all directions the age of Transparency must be nearly here. Of course there are other things that might give you pause and a need to consider the Uncomfortable. If there is a simmering revolt at the FBI, do they not represent the epitome of a smart, patriotic, Protector Class? And would they not be in the best position of anybody to know what is going on below the surface? Does the implied suborning of the Justice Department not give an plausible reason for the relative absence of scandal in the current admin?

All questions that one could continue to chew over but on Tuesday the votes are cast.

I don't know how it will all turn out. I will accept the outcome in either case, while hoping that the co-equal branches of government keep close tabs on an imperfect Executive.

I hope all here will give a like degree of respect for the opinions of their fellow citizens. Idle talk of cheating and Russian meddling and denigrating the opinions of others does little to foster the collaberative work that will be needed.

I have already said I can't vote for Trump. HRC is ahead in Wisconsin by a sufficient margain that my vote for her is of no moment. I may write in the name of a politician I respect. As to the down ticket races there is some sentiment for ticket splitting. And some arguments both ways. I have my opinions and will express them.

We live in interesting times. There is much that is imperfect but that is not the whole picture. My grandson learned to walk last month. The trees in Wisconsin are shockingly beautiful this fall. In my machining class I milled a part not just to the spec sheet 3.50 dimension (plus or minus .015) but to a perfect, in-your-face level accuracy of 3.5000.

Not all of life can attain those levels of perfection but it helps me to recall that the world will go on after Tuesday.

Tacitus

locumranch said...


Tacitus,

It's not nice to point out our host's inherent contradictions, especially when what-passes-for modern logic dictates that his conflicting assertions are all simultaneously true ASSUMING that all things are equal.

That's the magic behind Equalism's oft-cited incantation: 'All things are Equal'.

It's frequent repetition allows the progressive intellect to simultaneously believe that (1) 'Humanity is Imperfect' and (2) 'Humanity can become Perfect', while old school logical traditionalists like myself believe this conflict irreducible, especially when statement (1) defines perfection as being incompatible with (non-equivalent to) humanity.

This is also why Discrimination (and/or discriminating thought) has become the one unforgivable Modern Sin.


Best

David Brin said...

I’ll answer the challenge re CA’s ballot propositions next. First: locum has clearly decided to go off-his-med mode, which cheers me, since it seems our Trumpist is in a panic. Hoping his feral-crazy-fey sense of his cult’s doom is accurate.

His strawmanning has become almost painful to watch. He knows damned well that liberalism seeks relative equality of *opportunity to compete* - which is what Adam Smith recommended and which maximizes the *number* of empowered competitors and reified talent…

…but only jibbering leftists want equalization of *outcomes*, which would destroy the very same competitive arenas that both Smith and I discuss and which are the source of all our wealth.

He knows all this, yet continues to offer up outright lies — knowing lies - about this, conflating the two, because, well, it suits his cult incantations. Like proclaiming that his opponents are the “forbidders.” Har.

One thing though. To forbid people fucking others without their consent is the forbidding of rape. And I will stand by that. And tolerance has its limits when confronted by outright evil. And he has made clear thathe wants that right.

as for poor, pathetic, boring hadend? All his whimper shows is he’s obsessed with me… while I can barely…. can barely keep my eyes…. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

David Brin said...

Tacitus2: “If there is a simmering revolt at the FBI, do they not represent the epitome of a smart, patriotic, Protector Class?”

Shame on you, sir. After 24 years and half a BILLION dollars in utterly, utterly failed Clinton investigations, a steep burden of proof falls upon those trying to use innuendo and hints to concoct a vague, last-minute impression of fire, where there have never, ever, ever and ever been anything but wisps of smoke.

You know damned well this is skullduggery. Indeed, it is job security! SInce these jerks know that HC won’t dare lift a finger toward their blatant attempts to warp US elections. Note, every single FBI director has been a Republican.

But my finger wag is affectionate. My intent to burn down today’s GOP monstrosity to the ground is based upon a fervent wish to see the entire clade of traitor monster cultists ejected and replaced… by decent conservative adults like you.

Tacitus 2018!

Jumper said...

That poem was for your benefit, locumranch, as well as the rest of us. You are a little behind the times: Kipling has been criticized often for his anachronistic ways already, yet some progressives find his work not entirely useless, and even bracing.

Hardly anyone but the Mormons believe in absolute Perfectability (your own bizarre capitalization) allthough most others find progress do-able and desirable.

Also, why don't you just stop the stupid logic errors a cursory review of bullshit as used in poor-quality rhetoric should eliminate?

Jumper said...

Breaking:
FBI's Comey says latest emails do not change recommendation that Clinton should not face charges

David Brin said...

I am so ticked off at Jerry Brown! The politician I trust most on this planet, he couldn't have run in the primaries JUST to spout unconventional wisdom for a while?

And now, he has only taken a stance on FIVE of the CA ballot propositions! The jerk. Now I have to study the others. Feh!

Jerry Brown says (and I obey):

51 No (the CA democrats say Yes, but the LA Times No) Screw the dems.
53 No (dems & LAT agree)
57 Yes (dems & LAT agree)
58 Yes (dems & LAT agree)
67 Yes (dems & LAT agree)

Now where I am leaning, even without Jerry's (screw him) advice:

52 Yes (dems & LAT agree)

54 Yes? <=== still unsure! LATmes says yes and dems say no. But dem politicians can tip into self-interest. I like the 72 hour pre publication rule, but aiming cameras at legislators around the clock seems excessive.

55 Yes? (dems(Y) & LAT(N) disagree) I think the LAT is trying to maintain a slim reed of connection to their republican heritage.

56 Yes (dems & LAT agree) Everyone expects the tobacco tax to slide in.

59 Yes -- though the citizens united advisory measure is plain silly, it would make a statement.

60 No Absurd meddlesome lefty claptrap (dems & LAT agree)

61 ........ um... ( LAT says no) suggestions?

62 Yes, end the death penalty

63 Yes, close the gun loopholes. It does nothing against sane gun owners.

64 Yes pot... It is a poison, but only against human ambition. Deal with that medically.

65 No stoopid meddling LAT agrees

66 No... though yes would make the death penalty less-bad... still, get rid of it.

There, Alfred. Happy?

David Brin said...

As for Kipling, I will judge a person by whether they tried to be better than their times. Washington and Jefferson, yes. Abraham Lincoln? Vastly and he gets a total pass on his few slightly racist remarks. Frederick Douglass gave him one!

Kipling? Not totally, but mostly, tried to sway his contemporaries to be better people.

locumranch? Jesus weeps.

Tacitus2 said...

David you have been weaving far more fevered conspiracy notions out of even thinner wisps of smoke for years now. I can only take this as a criticism of my story telling abilities. You wound me, Sir.

Affectionately

Tacitus

Smurphs said...

Locum said:

All things being EQUAL, we can also dismiss Smurphs coital over-simplification because neither US Republicans nor Democrats can be considered 'liberal' in the classical sense of the word as both organisations unanimously support an elaborate & counterintuitive legal code in order to justify either an anti-populist Republican 'f*cking-over' or an ongoing Democrat affirmative consent pre-approval process for "who you f*ck".

I did not say "liberal", I said Republicans and Democrats. it is obvious from all of the discussions here that the definitions of "liberal", "conservative", "libertarian", etc. vary from person to person. Indeed, many of the discussion here are ABOUT those definitions.

What the GOP and DNC have actually done is now historical fact. You can't change the definition retroactively. Feel free to debate the results and unintended consequences. But the INTENT of the Parties were clear. The GOP loves to f*ck the poor, they brag about it. They say they are helping the middle class, but all of their enacted (not just proposed) programs give money, tax breaks and regulatory relief to large corporations. Not even to small businesses (the real driver of our economy), just to big business.


BTW, anything that is not affirmative consent is rape. It really is that simple.

David Brin said...

Tacitus I rank my fevered conspiracy theories according to plausibility scales and freely admit when one is a "low probability but plausible" notion.

Among the factors:
1- consistent with motive, means and opportunity?
2- consistent with all observed effects?
3- few or no countering facts?
4- far too-little discussed, even as a crackpot side hypothesis?

The Saudis-want-to-be-Caliphs thing scores super high in every category, especially the last. Yet, were you to ask me to rank it by probability, I'd give it 20% tops.

Yet I shout it as a possibility and plausibility because if it were true, then SOMEONE needs to! Likewise, when an administrator leaves 8 years of administration having accomplished no positive outcomes, even by accident, and tons of negative ones, I say some burden of proof falls on the "stupidity" excuse for the Bush Administrations. Still, I'd only wager at 1:3 odds that that horrid clad were actually deliberate traitors.

Now, let me ask... what odds that 24 years and half a billion $ of investigations of any random American would find as little on that person as this obsessive, relentless, vicious and utterly absurd vendetta against the Clintons have found? Factors 2, 3, and 4 would seem to be opposite.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

He [locumranch] knows all this, yet continues to offer up outright lies — knowing lies - about this, conflating the two, because, well, it suits his cult incantations.


Conflating is what loc does best. You noticed how he starts with a premise, for instance that "leftists" accuse Trump of being racist, misogynist, and having small hands. While the first two accusations are made by anyone to the left of Paul Ryan, the final accusation, which is in there to make "the left" look petty, ridiculous, and childish, actually came from Marco Rubio, one of Trump's opponents in the Republican primaries. Rubio's remarks do not reflect on the left.

Like proclaiming that his opponents are the “forbidders.” Har.


It's good to know we have such magic powers that our mere expression of disapproval is sufficient to curtail the liberty of our opponents to speak and act.

Paul SB said...

Tacitus,

"I can only take this as a criticism of my story telling abilities. You wound me, Sir. "

Don't forget, you are up against a professional story-teller, here. I've been writing creative fiction (though mostly role-playing it) since third grade, but I know better than to try it.

Treebeard said...

What? Is another patriot going to leave the country if Dark Lord Trump wins and plunges Middle Earth into a thousand years of darkness?

I always find it amusing when I hear Hollywood limo liberal types make threats like that, thus confirming all the stereotypes that they are unpatriotic, over-privileged, out of touch, hostile, rootless cosmopolitans with no loyalty to their own country. The rest of us just laugh and say: “good riddance to another grifter!” and “need any help packing your bags?”

Trump's popularity is almost entirely down to class warfare, and the fact that the Democratic Party is now a bigger tool of the plutocracy than the soon-to-be extinct GOP. The Republican Party is fracturing, but the same thing is true of the Democratic one. I think it's great, and we can thank Trump, win or lose, for accelerating the demise of this utterly corrupt system.

Paul SB said...

Treebeard,

Who said they were planning on leaving the country? Did I miss something? I didn't see anyone in the comments section say anything remotely like this. Making statements like this kind of puts you in the same camp as loci. Jumper wrote to him:

"... why don't you just stop the stupid logic errors a cursory review of bullshit as used in poor-quality rhetoric should eliminate?"

The answer is clear enough. He doesn't know any other way to talk than to use underhanded bullshit tactics, just like the preachers I grew up with, just like pretty much any politician you care to name (Donald Grope included), and your logic doesn't come across much better, if at all.

hadend said...

You may possibly be the Angriest Man Online, Dr. Brin. As for being obsessed, I do have to cop to having a morbid fascination with whatever insane thing you'll say about politics next. Have you said Putin is trying to tamper with US elections yet?

This last post was a real gem of the genre. I loved the part where you placed FDR's new deal coalition in the same 'tradition' as Clinton's third-way neoliberalism. Read the right way, your posts could be interpreted as the most biting political satire in English since Jonathan Swift - so maybe I've just been reading you the wrong way this whole time!

LarryHart said...

@hadend,

Dr Brin is not even the angriest man in the comment section of this blog.

As for angriest man online, did you read the Jim Wright column linked to in the main post? I'd like to see you over on http://www.stonekettle.com/ heckling the guy who writes that one.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Who said they were planning on leaving the country? Did I miss something?


He meant Dr Brin's quip about "if we're not packing for New Zealand" in the main post. Let it stand.

It's the White Nationalists like Treebeard that make plans for escaping the country seem like a wise precaution against a "V For Vendetta" type fascist government.


Duncan Cairncross said...

Speaking as a Kiwi we would love to have the likes of Dr Brin come here, but I suspect the mega rich would find a different type of welcome here

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

The Republican Party is fracturing, but the same thing is true of the Democratic one.


And if the GOP finally has a stake driven through its heart, its head chopped off, and the head and body buried at separate crossroads, I may join you in cheering for a reallignment of the Democratic Party as well.

But while you cheer for a Trump victory in the current election which would allow Paul Ryan to implement his economic agenda and the Heritage Foundation to lock up the Supreme Court for the rest of your lifetime and mine, that's not going to end the Republican Party stranglehold on democracy. At the moment, the Democratic Party is the only opposition force against that happening,

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Anyone have other ideas for a shorter, bumper-sticker names"

How about "Economic and social rationalists"? I agree that "pragmatic centrists" sound like a weak and bloodless lot who mistake capitulation for compromise.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dr. Brin said: "The Saudis-want-to-be-Caliphs thing scores super high in every category, especially the last. Yet, were you to ask me to rank it by probability, I'd give it 20% tops."

Your number is as good as any, for the simple reason that the House of Saud is riven by so many factions and rivalries that it makes the court of Louis XIV look placid and heterogenous. The network of 'royals' in SA is vast, even bigger than England's, and even among the sub-families, huge divisions are easy to find. There are quite a few of the bin Ladens who are actually quite lovely people and like Americans. I have no doubt that the court has supporters of ISIS, al Qaida, and even secular democracy. Further, I suspect the dominance of the Prince is shakier than we think.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hurt said: "Apologies to our British friends for not remembering Guy Fawkes day until it's already over in your time zone."

I didn't forget, being a veteran of collecting pennies for the old Guy. I noted with considerable amusement that second only of Guido, the figure most frequently burned in effigy on Bonfire night was our very own Trumpster.

To celebrate this, I penned this deathless doggerell. (Readers of a sensitive nature, avert your eyes; it contains an F-bomb)

England prevails...

Remember, remember, the eighth of November
When Seppland fucked itself with a Trump
Nobody knew how badly he blew
'Til he turned the place to a dump

David Brin said...

Larryhart: As for the GOP breaking up, fine. All that will happen is the DP will divide, as happened in California, into pro-business and PC wings. But pro-business politicians who are sane, want an Earth to survive, want a middle class, and believe in facts and science.

Zepp, many Saudi “divisions” may be for show.

Bah, the ent is too stupid to know a metaphor. I will stay and fight you confederate troglodytes to my last breath. You had 6000 years of feudal bastardy and vicious stupidity-feudalism on almost every continent and failed ever once to create a decent society. Cheaters, all the way down, who suppressed competition with axes. We have accomplished more freedom, science, wealth, fun, joy, diversity, opportunity, competitive creativity and virile vigor in the last century than all of your insipid-cruel kings put together.

“Trump's popularity is almost entirely down to class warfare, and the fact that the Democratic Party is now a bigger tool of the plutocracy than the soon-to-be extinct GOP.”

What amazes me about these guys is their utterly schozo-insane ability to proclaim what they KNOW to be diametric opposites to fact and preen as if they were clever! He knows that the class war is right wing oligarchs controlling confederate masses, exactly like the plantation lords did in 1861. He has to rail that Americans are as bad! Because that is what he sees in the mirror.

But America will win this round of civil war. If the Confeds ever win one of the big phases, we’ll all go up against walls. If the Union wins again… you’ll be invited (as Lincoln did) … to renew your citizenship in something wonderful.

Oh… SEE “The Free State of Jones!” Not a super great flick. But okay.

handend… fact-free blowhard dope. Snore.

hadend said...

@LarrHart

I did read the piece. It's got some great bits like when he describes what it was like to enlist in the Army in the post-Vietnam era and I guess the guy makes a reasonable case explaining why he's voting for Hillary. Who knows, maybe it'll change some peoples minds. To his credit, he seems to be making an appeal to people in earnest without talking down to them or resorting to calling them *John Malkovich voice* confederate baffoons because they harbor Trump sympathies. (That made me realize it's fitting to read any Brin comment in John Malkovich's voice.)

I wasn't blown away by the piece or anything though. Are you guys perpetually shocked by someone who's a vet and a Democrat, or something? I've heard something along the lines of "I'd like to see you argue with X who's an ex-marine and a pragmatic democrat too!.." several times here. Not really sure if that's what you were getting at...

I disagree with Jim Wright when he says stuff like the Democratic Party is the party of diplomacy over war and I'd probably ask if he just thinks the Trump/populism thing is gonna disappear after HRC wins.

Besides, there are deep contradictions in the current Democratic Party structure too as this primary showed so I wouldn't consider the party unified or the self-described centrist/pragmatists all that pragmatic. As an aside, I've noticed the word 'pragmatic' is used all the time by the Blairite portion of the UK Labour party to describe their own style of politics, yet they seem to be doing everything in their waning power to hobble their own party in a general election. Who knows if similar things will happen down the road for the Dem Party.

raito said...

I'm also picking up from yesterday,

donzelion,

Given your experiences, I think we're talking about entirely different sets of management (that $500?hr isn't on any side of the equation). In my world, about the only way for incompetent managers to get sacked is because they become an annoyance to their managers. And pissing on those below isn't a bother to anyone above. And no, the entire problem isn't managers.

Deuxglass,

I think I might cite I Will Fear No Evil, Heinlein, 1970, as a better first example of a dystopia between haves and have-nots. And I think that like most literary movements, Gibson was really the first distillation that gave the name to it, rather than the first, or even best example (I believe that he's been cited as saying that his descriptions of computer systems were meant to be metaphorical, rather than actual. He still thought in terms of keyboards and terminals).

electronic voting and fraud:

I had to listen to some unqualified radio person state definitively that if a machine is not on the internet, it simply cannot be hacked! People might want to stick to their expertise. The more reasonable expert guest pointed out what chain of event might have to happen for hacking the vote at the machines to occur. But without a way to audit, it only takes one step to fail, perhaps. (Hint: where does the firmware come from in the first place...)

Jumper,

That capacitor thing is a pretty neat trick, but only one way you can put a backdoor into the chip itself. That's what happens when nearly chip designers are using HDLs, and there's no way to verify that what's in the HDL you send to the fab is exactly and only what was put into your wafer.

Even more likely is hacking the bitstream getting loaded into an FPGA that sits outside the CPU's perimeter. Which is happening more and more in the IoT. Some of those devices don't even have traditional processors, but FPGAs implementing processors, that get their very low-level hardware at boot time from memory somewhere.

Alfred Differ (and others discussing bygone days),

I saw an ad for some TV show. Young person looking at an atlas says, "I didn't know they used to print Google Maps." Other young person looking says, "What's East Germany". It's not the old folk's world any more. The Mindset List keeps earning its relevancy.

(and others discussing Lady Liberty)

The webcomic Sinfest is currently dealing at times with a breakup between those longtime lovers, Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam.

LarryHart,

It depends entirely on who 'our' in 'our values' are, doesn't it?

Paul SB,

No, most don't fit the definition. Some do, and that's good. Some try. And some try to propagate that sort of adult, along with Heinlein's skill-based version.

As far as honesty and fairness go, I can say that the majority of the wealthy and powerful I have met were so. Not that there's many I've met, though.


I'm finding it interesting that no one so far has mentioned Gingrich's appearance on Meet The Press (while he was here in cheese land).

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

@David: Thank you. I was looking for Jerry Brown's suggestions too. I agree often enough to make it worth the effort. He seemed to focus mostly on 53, though.

I think 61 is a terrible idea and will be voting against it. I'm sympathetic with the desire of some to pay less for prescriptions, but this smacks of a price fixing attempt. They never work. There are always unintended consequences. The right way to do this is much, much simpler. Write a law preventing government purchasers from signing deals that require them never to disclose the prices they pay. THAT is the underlying problem. There will still be unintended consequences, though.

For me it will be:
51-Yes (Heh. There are times when my Libertarian friends don't like me.)
52-No (Legislature's job. Make them do it.)
53-No (I agree with Jerry Brown.)
54-Hell yes.
55-No (Legislature's job. Make them do it.)
56-No (I don't like vice taxes)
57-Yes (I don't support amendments often, but this one has always bugged me)
58-Yes (get with the times)
59-Yes (amusing)
60-No (lawsuit engine enabling everyone to have standing it seems)
61-No (dumb way to do it)
62-Yes (gov't should have no power to execute The People)
63-No (Legislature's job and they are acting on it)
64-Yes (Get with the times)
65-No (Legislature's job)
66-No (There is a nasty little clause in it concerning appointment lists I don't like)
67-No (Sigh. Legislature's job. Get with it.)

Paul SB said...

Zepp,

Ah, England has a long and worthy tradition of doggerel! But I'm hoping Seppland won't fuck itself on a trump come the 8th. Holy frijoles! That's tomorrow! (I voted by mail a couple weeks ago, and if I am remembering correctly, my votes on the CA propositions line up pretty well with Alfred & our host. My daughter and I sat down at the computer and researched for a few hours while filling ours out.)

Instead of "rationalist" I am toying with the idea of putting the term "Confirmation Bias" on the back of my car. It isn't a political slogan or term of affiliation, but maybe people will look it up and realize what they have been doing all along. Mentioning it around here (or on Facebook) hasn't helped with the troll population, but one can only hope.

Paul SB said...

Raito,

Nat King Cole had a different take from Rudyard Kipling on advice to his son (and Diana Krall covers the tune nicely, being both easier on the ears and the the eyes ;) It's advice we may have to heed if things don't go the right way tomorrow.


Pick yourself up,
Take a deep breath,
Dust yourself off
And start all over again.

Nothing's impossible, I have found
For when my chin is on the ground.
I pick myself up,
Dust myself off
And start all over again.

Don't lose your confidence
If you slip
Be grateful for a pleasant trip
And pick yourself up,
Dust yourself off
And start all over again.

Work like a soul inspired
Until the battle of the day is won.
You may be sick and tired,
But you'll be a man, my son.

Will you remember the famous men
Who had to fall to rise again
They picked themselves up
Dust themselves off
And start'd all over again.


LarryHart said...

hadend:

I've heard something along the lines of "I'd like to see you argue with X who's an ex-marine and a pragmatic democrat too!.." several times here. Not really sure if that's what you were getting at...


I was more calling your attention to his reaction to abusive comments. Maybe that was more evident on the specific post that Dr Brin had mentioned earlier, which is no longer the most recent one.

My point was that when you accuse Dr Brin of being "the angriest man online", I don't think he's even in the ballpark. Jim Wright does anger much better. And I don't even read the righty talkers like Rush Limbaugh or Pat Buchanan, but I suspect that anger abounds over there as well.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

“Trump's popularity is almost entirely down to class warfare, and the fact that the Democratic Party is now a bigger tool of the plutocracy than the soon-to-be extinct GOP.”

What amazes me about these guys is their utterly schozo-insane ability to proclaim what they KNOW to be diametric opposites to fact and preen as if they were clever! He knows that the class war is right wing oligarchs controlling confederate masses, exactly like the plantation lords did in 1861.


Actually, inside the alt-right bubble, he probably doesn't "know" that. Treebeard is sounding exactly like my formerly-sane conservative buddy who used to insist that class warfare--by definition--could only be waged by the poor against the rich. Because only the rich have something to confiscate. I'm not in agreement with that sentiment, but it is out there.

Zepp Jamieson said...

To Paul SB:
At this point, I expect Hillary to win by at least six percentage points (yes, I know what the polls say, but the public polls are dependent on reader interest for profit, and you don't get that in a blow-out election) and probably about 325 EVs. The US will dodge a bullet on this one.
Confirmation bias: won't work. The incidence of confirmation bias is nearly as high amongst people who know what it means as amongst the general public. I think the vulgate term for it -- 'blind spots' -- is more accurate.

LarryHart said...

raito:

I'm finding it interesting that no one so far has mentioned Gingrich's appearance on Meet The Press (while he was here in cheese land).


I didn't see it, but I've seen clips, and I've been meaning to mention that Gingrich is spouting the old GOP line about "If the Democrat is elected, we'll have four more years of rancor from congressional Republicans, whereas if the Republican is elected, there will be peace and harmony in D.C." The same argument was used in the Gore/Bush election. He's essentially arguing for giving into hostage-taking terrorists.

No sale! Millions for defense; not a cent for tribute.

raito said...

LarryHart,

Here's a transcription of the last part of the interview. I didn't bother differentiating the interviewer and Gingrich:

"[M]ost Americans do not find themselves actually alienates from their fellow Americans or truly fearful if the other party wins power. Unlike in Bosnia, Northern Ireland or Rwanda, competition for power in the U.S. remains largely a debate between people who can work together once the election is over."

That was America circa 2001, as far as you were concerned. Do you believe that's the case in January of 2017?

No. No, I think tragically we have drifted into an environment where if Hillary is elected, the criminal investigations will be endless, and if Trump is elected it'll be just like Madison Wisconsin with Scott Walker. The opposition of the goverment employee unions will be so hostile, and so direct, and so immediate that'll be a continuing fight over who controls the country. I think that we are in for a long, difficult couple of years, maybe a decade or more because the gap between those of us who are deeply offended by the dishonesty and the corruption and the total lack of honesty on the Clinton team. And on their side, their defense of unions, which they have to defned, I understand that. But that will lead to a Madison, Wisconsin kind of struggle if Trump wins.

Well, Speaker Gingrich, there's a picture that you painted there. Anyway, I'm gonna let you go.

That's fair. I wish it wasn't, I wish it wasn't true, Chuck.

Anonymous said...

Pragmatism is to be expected from Americans, Americans who will continue to burn tonnes of Carbon over taking the hard crack of recession across their jowls: if solar and wind are all that (as has been claimed) then why the build-out for natural gas and pipeline across land that America treaty-broke and stole? Or what hope for them with the justly boot of Pax Americana so deeply planted up their backsides? Obama himself quoted "all of the above" which is to say: business as usual. Thus, regardless which wing of the corporate party scuttles into office (note how both avoid the pipeline Dakota issue like a demon core with a bicycle lane) one can expect more of the same. Look to the decline of the Soviets for a lesson in greenhouse gas reduction and recovery of the biosphere, or how a new run-way at Heathrow ain't that; low hanging Carbon fruit would be to phase out those horrid sky-screamers. What, no? How pragmatic!

occam's comic the ultimate denier said...

A little bet more news from the ultimate denier:

The extraordinary high temperatures in the arctic continue this week, with much of the arctic 20 degrees C warmer than normal and 800,000 km less ice than the previous low for this date. The arctic should be much colder and air should be much drier. With the air in the arctic having more water in it means that much less heat leaves the system because water is a powerful green house gas. Just another positive feedback loop in the arctic.

But of course you should not be worried that we have already triggered a "climate avalanche" that can't be stopped. That would make you an ultimate denier.

It is much better for you to follow the bullshit marketing gurus in the climate change movement who say we can continue to burn fossil fuels 30 years and still avoid dangerous climate change. Yes a useful lie is better than a painful truth.

David Brin said...

Our anonymous ranter actually asked a couple of interesting questions, amid his incoherent howls. Why develop natural gas *while* pushing for solar and wind etc? Simple.

1) Gas is vastly better than coal.
2) Ending our economic dependence on the Middle East can make us less likely to kowtow to those dictator princes and/or get snared into wars over there.
3) The natural gas surge has lured many companies to set up factories and plants along the Mississippi basin. Manufacturing jobs are returning to America, as Bernie wants.

The trick is to not let any of that slow down the rapid progress in sustainables! Indeed, #3 is helping to make solar panels and wind turbines and batteries cheaper. And #2 has reduced the petro princes’ ability to sabotage sustainables.

Still, the republicans want to sabotage sustainables and democrats want to push them hard. GOPpers hate science and democrats (except the farthest lefties) like it. Republicans sabotage the IRS, SEC, CFPB and anti-white-collar crime agencies, Democrats fully fund them. They are not different versions of the same tune. (Give us a DP Congress and watch it proved.

No: “they are all the same” is the screech of fanatic lunatics. The sort that make up our very farthest left and (almost) our entire right. They are not the same.

David Brin said...

raito interesting stuff…. what did Gingrich do/say?

Ah. Attacking unions, a force in American life that represents skilled labor and henceanother knowledge-fact caste to despise… but also a force that’s been in decline for decades. DISTRACT from the force that is rapidly rising. Oligarchy.

Alfred - I see your points. Though no one can argue the CA state legislature is not “busy.” They are the epitome of Democrats. NOT socialist so much as manic and eager… including eager for enterprise to work.

In fact, there are times when I wonder if we have the ratios all wrong. spend two out of every eight years with depressive/passive (but sane) republicans running the legislature. Just so nothing will happen and we get a pause. Ah, but that presumes “sane republicans.” We have em in California! Some. Like a preserve for an endangered species.

LarryHart said...

@raito, concerning Gingrich:

That's really what he thinks the rancor from the Democrats is all about? Unions? I know that's a part of the Democratic constituency, but if anything, it's one that the Dems have left to fend for themselves since Reagan.

Gingrich:

...because the gap between those of us who are deeply offended by the dishonesty and the corruption and the total lack of honesty on the Clinton team.


If he'd be inclined to listen to me, I'd advise him to tend to the beam in his own eye before worrying about the sliver in Hillary's.

LarryHart said...

Since I was the one who brought up the Philadelphia transit strike, and its possible impact on the election, I figured I'd better post the tentative resolution as well...

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/11/07/philadelphia-transit-strike-ends-union-septa-reach-deal-reports-say/93412510/

...
Septa said on its website that a deal was reached and that "limited bus, trolley and subway service will resume later today." SEPTA said service was expected to be fully restored Tuesday.
...

Paul451 said...

Zepp Jamieson,
"for the simple reason that the House of Saud is riven by so many factions and rivalries that it makes the court of Louis XIV look placid and heterogenous."

Sure, but so are the billionaire funders of the US right. (The power struggle between the Koch/Fox faction and the Mercer/Breitbart faction, for example.)

It doesn't reduce their ability to create a gestalt push in one preferred direction.

Paul451 said...

Hadend,
"Have you said Putin is trying to tamper with US elections yet?"

No, that was announced by the Dept Homeland Security.

https://www.dhs.gov/news/2016/10/07/joint-statement-department-homeland-security-and-office-director-national

"Besides, there are deep contradictions in the current Democratic Party structure too as this primary showed so I wouldn't consider the party unified or the self-described centrist/pragmatists all that pragmatic."

A perfect example of the idiocy of "both sides are the same."

The final choice in the Dem primary was Clinton and Sanders. Clinton is a slow reformist, who tends to fixate on short term immediate politics at the expense of long term goals. Versus Sanders, a quick-reformer, who focuses so completely on the long term that he loses the immediate race. (Earlier, the primary included a couple of boring moderates.) How is that any more divided than Clinton/Obama in 2012? Pragmatists vs impatient/optimists. Oh noes, what divide!

How exactly is there any comparison between the two sides?

Paul451 said...

"How exactly is there any comparison between the two sides?"

I meant, "between the two parties". How is there any comparison between the choices in the Dem primary and the choices in the Rep primary.

LarryHart said...

@Paul451:

Well, "are different from each other in every conceivable way" is a kind of comparison.

:)

Jumper said...

If we banned outright carbon fuels, the immediate deaths would begin in days or hours. Same if we tried to shut it down over one year's time. I am afraid it will take up to 20 years. Speak of 'baked in' results, so are the transition times.
Of course I favor a crash program of manufacturing solar and batteries to speed it up. "Batteries" to include all the minor forms of storage beyond pumped hydro and new-tech electrochemical batteries.

Jonathan Sills said...

Will Rogers said it best, I think: "I'm not a member of any organized political party. I'm a Democrat." For Dems, division is a sign of health - it means we're discussing issues, not merely following one man's (and it's always a man, I notice) dictates.

Dr. Brin, I have to confess that I have strayed from the True Faith. While I know it's our duty to defeat the right wing at every conceivable level of government, I could not, in good conscience, vote for Tina Podlowski as Washington's Secretary of State. She's been airing quite a few ads aimed at her opponent, the incumbent Republican Kim Wyman - ads rife with half-truths and innuendoes more suitable for a Tea Partier than a Dem. (One of my personal favorites: "She ran a primary that only benefited Donald Trump." Well, yes - because the SecState oversees elections, and the Republican Party is the only one in this state that uses primaries rather than caucuses.) I had to vote for the Republican in that race, because she was the only sane adult running for that office.

ulitmate denier said...

Oh No Jumper
Stop quickly, because that train of thought will lead you to become an ULTIMATE DENIER.

Because when you think about it, best case we will continue to make the situation worse for your 20 years in the hope that we will be able to prevent the polar amplification that is currently happening.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul 451 said: "It doesn't reduce their ability to create a gestalt push in one preferred direction."

Indeed not, but it makes predicting that preferred direction a whole lot harder.

David Brin said...

Jonathan I am fine with that. Just keep your eye on the winner!

Jumper said...

I said I was afraid it would take up to 20 years. I didn't say we couldn't do it faster.

the ULTIMATE DENIER said...

At a boy jumper,
I am sure you can devise a plan in your head that you think would allow us to get off fossil fuels in less than 20 years. I have done it myself.

In the real world plans that are called very aggressive get us to an 80% reduction in fossil fuel usage by 2050. And politically those plans are called unrealistic.

That is why if find Dave's accusation that i am the ULTIMATE DENIER so crazy.

It is like he was not paying attention when climatologist talked about the process of polar amplification. We have known for decades that there is only a limited window of opportunity for us to avoid dangerous climate change.And now that the process of polar amplification is clearly underway, he want to stick with bullshit marketing advice that has taken over the climate change leadership and lie to everyone and say we can still avoid dangerous climate change. They think the lie will motivate people more than the truth.

I guess that Dave Brin is a new type of climate change denier,
he is a POLAR AMPLIFICATION DENIER.

David Brin said...

I haver no idea what "Anonymous the ULTIMATE DENIER" is jabbering about.

Zepp Jamieson said...

There's a contingent, including, hilariously, some climate deniers, that take the Estragon approach: "Oh, Nothing to be done." All is lost. We are doomed. It is futile to try.
Apparently, Doctor Brin, you are a Despair Denier. You'll have to add that to your CV.

Paul SB said...

Either that or he is doing the "perfect is the enemy of the good" thing. Would that be a Perfection Denier?


Larry,

This came cross my inbox, and it immediately made me think of you.

http://www.teeturtle.com/products/alexander-hamilton

Otherwise I'm too tired to keep up with the posts here.

Alfred Differ said...

@David: Though no one can argue the CA state legislature is not “busy”

Indeed. When they are eager to act, I like to encourage people to let them try. Interact with them and say what ya want.

The initiative process produces some badly written law, so it should be reserved for what the legislature doesn’t want to do. I’d rather vote for prop 54, point the cameras at legislators and committees, and then reward them for a job well done than vote for initiatives written by people at whom I can’t point cameras. I’m even more skeptical of amendments after Prop 8 passed. I was embarrassed it got on the ballot and horrified it passed. Messing about with the equal protections clause is a sure way to face terrible unintended consequences.

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB:
Heh. The relevant lyric being referred to is...


Burr, the revolution's imminent,
What do you stall for?

If you stand for nothing, Burr,
What will you fall for?

Anonymous said...

Haven't had a chance to post recently, but I still pop in now and again to catch up. Still one of the best blogs and comment sections out there. Love you guys.

And as for today.... in my best Leslie Neilsen impression:

Good luck, America. We're all counting on you.

Tim W

Tom Elliot said...

One correction on your characterization of those on the left who dislike the Bill Clinton conservative model. It isn't the DNC that we opposed within the Democratic Party, it is/was the DLC and its like-minded policy adherents. It proved to have policies that worked for only one President's terms in office and was helped immensely by a tech boom/bubble that popped at the end of the 20th Century. That popping bubble didn't hurt us much but sadly that Presidency gave us W.

I don't have a problem with the DNC as an organization, I just wish there were better people running it these days. The Sanders/Warren wing of the Party may just be able to shift it a bit into better territory without throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

'Nielsen' even... oops.

(Leslie Neilsen was.... less well known. But he sends his regards too)

Tim W

Marino said...

Let's hope for the best and "Keep America great, vote Hillary".

One question from the other site of the pond: but if "sane pragmatic conservatism" has been hijacked by angry populists of all stripes and shades, not only Trump but Berlusconi and Grillo in Italy, both Le Pen in France, AfD in Germany, the revolting authoritarians in Eastern Europe, Farage in UK, maybe there should have been already a flaw within?

Marino, hailing from Italy and crossing fingers

LarryHart said...

@Marino,

I believe the flaw is that conservatism has always been somewhat authoritarian in nature. It tends to admire the top-down command and control in the corporate and military realms. That streak is there to be co-opted by a demagogue who leads the charge for the same master/slave construct in civil life.

There are very real concerns about scarcity of resources and wealth, notwithstanding that the scarcity is created by hoarding at the top. The demagogue eggs his followers on to fight with "others" over ownership of the dregs rather than demanding their share of the dragon's hoard. There is also a subset of humanity who enjoys being mean to other people, and the demagogue gives them permission to act that out over demonized groups of "others". In good economic times, these tendencies stay below the surface, but when people feel troubled, a Trump always seems to emerge to point them in the wrong direction and fire.

I just realized as I typed that last sentence that Donald Trump may appropriately be seen to say "You're fired!" to his followers in an unintentionally-ironic way.

Jonathan Sills said...

There's an issue with the DLC? I mean, I know downloadable content for a game you've already purchased can seem like a ripoff sometimes, but usually it genuinely does expand the base game (as with the Nuka-World and Far Harbor DLCs for Fallout 4...).

David S said...

@Jonathan, I too was confused by DLC. However, I think Tom is referring to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_Leadership_Council

The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was a non-profit 501(c)(4) corporation[1] founded in 1985 that, upon its formation, argued the United States Democratic Party should shift away from the leftward turn it took in the late 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s. The DLC hailed President Bill Clinton as proof of the viability of Third Way politicians and as a DLC success story.

The DLC's affiliated think tank is the Progressive Policy Institute. Democrats who adhere to the DLC's philosophy often call themselves New Democrats. This term is also used by other groups who have similar views on where the party should go in the future, like NDN[2] and Third Way.[3]

donzelion said...

My personal history with voter suppression, and what I do about it:

1992, I voted for the first time. I moved from San Diego to a college town in SoCal; they let me cast a provisional ballot, but I don't know if it counted since as a college student, proving address was rather tricky and took some time.

1996: I was out in the Middle East. Never saw a ballot. Filled in the forms, but nothing ever arrived.

2004, voting in NYC, my ballot got kicked out because I had moved there in August but hadn't proven my address in time. Polling places near Columbia University/Harlem area where I lived then were a well-run machine, but the handling for my registration made me think there was corruption at work in the system. So I joined the NYC Board of Elections as legal staff in 2005.

2006, based in Saudi Arabia - hard to prove you reside overseas...NY had been my last residential address, so when I tried to vote, NY tried to slap a tax lien on me for calling NY "home" for voting purposes even though I didn't earn a penny from there. Took a few years to get that cleared up, since NY sent all the notices to an address I hadn't lived at (they won a 'default' judgment, which they franchised out to a collections group)

2016, back in SoCal. Twisted my girlfriend's arm to get her to register, drove her to a polling station, got back and discovered that her elections flyers have been really well-crafted by micro-targeting to confuse the heck out of her. That's my bad as a boyfriend for failing to convince her that you can't trust what you read in the mail, but I'm impressed (and a little scared) by how well they figured out her ethnicity (convincing her that a hardcore Republican is actually from her own ethnic background and closer to her beliefs than she really is).

LarryHart said...

@donzelion,

I don't think you meant it this way, but except for the one "So I joined the NYC Board of Elections", the lesson of your memoir seems to be "Might as well give up, because you can't fight the power."

occam's comic said...

Here are four possible explanations for how the pole(s) stayed warm in winter during a Greenhouse earth:

Convective cloud feedback
Hadley Cell expansion
Polar Strospheric clouds
Tropical Cyclones

https://www.seas.harvard.edu/climate/eli/research/equable/ccf.html

(I am dropping the issue that it is too late to avoid dangerous climate change in the northern hemisphere, but in 5 to 10 years the evidence will be undeniable that we missed our opportunity to avoid dangerous climate change. Just keep an eye on the arctic.)

This website is a great resource to tack the changes in the arctic.

http://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/index.php?board=3.0

Tacitus2 said...

For what its worth when I voted the lady ahead of me was quite elderly and was brought to the polls by a neighbor of mine. There was a problem....everyone knew her but she wanted to use as ID a drivers license that had expired 8 years ago.

This was under discussion while I voted. The (young) lady in line behind me got upset enough to swear rather coarsely about the situation.

Considering the demographic this is probably suppressing a Republican voter.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

There was a problem....everyone knew her but she wanted to use as ID a drivers license that had expired 8 years ago.

This was under discussion while I voted. The (young) lady in line behind me got upset enough to swear rather coarsely about the situation.


This is way tangential to your point, but I'm left wondering. Was the young lady swearing because the older woman was being disenfranchised, or because the older lady was trying to vote without proper documentation?


Considering the demographic this is probably suppressing a Republican voter.


Then the Republicans who implemented the dracoinian voter-suppression laws in your state have only themselves to blame. Or (more likely) they figure Republicans like her are a small price to pay in order to mostly suppress Democratic votes.

Sorry, I know you think this is a "both sides do it" example, but it really isn't. The states which jumped on the removal of the Voting Rights Act section which allowed them to make such changes were all controlled by Republicans at the time, and the changes were made specifically to inconvenience minorities and students. If you disagree, please cite one example where this was not the case.

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

LarryHart: "I don't think you meant it this way, but except for the one "So I joined the NYC Board of Elections", the lesson of your memoir seems to be "Might as well give up, because you can't fight the power."

LOL, I prefer to think more in John Paul Jones' language. Think you've stopped me? "I have not yet begun to fight."

It seemed to me the most effective way to 'fight the power' is by becoming 'the power.' That was also the logic that led me from human rights law to corporate law.

donzelion said...

Tacitus: re the "use of an expired ID" - in much of the country, that would not be acceptable, simply because government issued ID is "the preferred proof of authority to vote in a specific polling site." Voter suppression based on ID systems is never about 'stopping fraud' - it's all about verifying who can vote where.

Having a dozen people who "know the old lady" isn't good enough, for obvious reasons (that is precisely the trick used to drive a busload of unqualified voters into a site, each of whom vouches for all the others - one of the oldest tricks in the book - and if you disallow them all, you're inviting litigation).

There are hundreds of simple ways to suppress voters. While many eyes have been drawn to technology (as in, 'could the Russians hack the machines?'), few people have looked at the obvious: 'garbage in/garbage out' applies to the voter registration databases, but unlike other databases like those run by banks, (a) these don't get tested daily to verify integrity, so tricks that worked to suppress voters in one year can be recycled in the future, and (b) there's minuscule budgets to stop those tricks from operating, while banks can deploy armies of investigators.

Tacitus2 said...

Donzelian and LarryH.

The young lady behind me was visibly upset and said "That F**%%## Law". I think we may assume that she perceived this as evil Republican voter suppression. But as has been mentioned just above, this is an issue tangential to recent changes in law. For the record you can vote with an expired ID in WI so long as it was valid in the last election.

I mentioned this vignette because I try to be fair. Not unbiased, that would be a tall order for any of us. There has been discusion on this board in the past as to how far a state like Wisconsin should go to ensure that everyone has a chance to vote. Our genial host sometimes lays down the ALLCAPS and indicates that the Badger State has done nothing. This is a unfair. You can get an ID free of charge. You can get a state employee to help you do the background stuff like tracking down a birth cert, again, free. I understand that you can get a free taxi ride to the polls. In any event a call to either of the local party HQs would also get you a ride. I won't snark out and posit that it could also get you dinner and walking around money, this is not Philidelphia after all.

No, it brought home to me that a certain segment of the population will not avail themselves of any amount of public service announcements on the new law, or of the assorted vote assistance measures. She's a nice old gal. But is she an informed voter?

I am in favor of as wide a franchise as possible but when the dust settles and tempers cool one could have a discusion of "how wide"? Would the local memory care unit be too far? I don't have all the answers.

But as I try to be fair I thought I should pass along a scene that would appear at first glance to do discredit to the conservative position.

Tacitus

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I am in favor of as wide a franchise as possible but when the dust settles and tempers cool one could have a discusion of "how wide"? Would the local memory care unit be too far? I don't have all the answers.


I'd be up for that discussion.

And the question I asked about why the young lady was swearing--I really was asking the question. I didn't know the answer ahead of time.

If I sounded as if I didn't reciprocate your fair-mindedness, it's just because you've touched upon a topic that I'm particularly sensitive to at this moment. I can see the presidential and Senate elections (especially the Senate) turning on voter suppression. I'll be able to speak more dispassionately after this is all over.

David Brin said...

TActitus we should all be tolerant of each others' prickliness. But my (ALL CAPS?) rants about voter ID have been moderate and reasonable. I am (unlike most dems) perfectly willing to see Voter ID be phased in. It is completely reasonable!

But it must be done in phases that account for habits that were part of our republic for ages and have done no appreciable harm requiring haste.

My chief point is that - were the Republican monsters instituting these laws actually sincere, they would have instituted massive campaigns of compliance assistance... the very thing they insist upon when new regulations affect big business. Helping poor people, women, the elderly to get the needed ID - and especially using gentle forbearance in the first few elections to help your old lady to BOTH vote and sign up for new ID - would be what sincere and decent people would do.

These are not sincere or decent people. They are monsters. Evil, deeply evil cheaters, who *reduced* access to DMVs etc in poor areas, and were caught on camera bragging that the sole purpose was vote suppression.

Tacitus, you seem to feel you can distance yourself from such nasty, awful people in some incremental, phased and calibrated way. Forgive me dear friend, but you are deluded. Their treason is deliberate and it is - alas - utterly typical.

Alfred Differ said...

What I don't understand is why an ID should expire at all. If the card has a chip on it, I can see the digital certificate expiring. If it is a picture ID, though, it should work for voter identification as long as the picture still looks enough like the person carrying it to pass a human detector test.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin,

All-Caps is a particular pet peeve of Tacitus's. I stopped using them here because of that. Just as using "@" is a pet peeve of Jumper's.

Sometimes, it helps to remember that sort of thing.

David Brin said...

May today's GOP burn down, leaving fertile ashes from which adults may sprout... in 2018.

In which case...

Tacitus 2018!

David Brin said...

onward

onward