Saturday, January 21, 2017

Those who admire Nazi "competence." (Bet you know some)

 == Nazi-obsessed nincompoops ==

There are dozens of reasons why men and women of the ‘Greatest Generation’ – those who endured a Depression, crushed Hitler, contained communism, built a spectacular economy, went to the Moon, then started overcoming 6000 years of bad habits like racism, sexism and all that… all while taxing the rich, with strong unions and admiring Franklin Roosevelt -- would deem “patriotic” Republicans as anything but. Certainly not the sense of seeking the long-term benefit of a healthy and revolutionary republic.   

It isn’t just the ceaseless whining, or the anti-science, anti-fact "carnage" ravings. Or their sucking up to oligarchy.  No. Probably the biggest thing that would strike the Greatest Generation as appalling is the way spoiled “macho” American males of our time offer perverted, “grudging respect” to the Nazi regime that our parents and grandparents fought so hard to overcome.

Let’s be clear. In conversations I have found little reason to call this reflex racist, per se. Sure, I’d guess maybe a third of that community are steeped in it. But most of them rave their Nazi-Confederate admiration for a completely different reason.

Just as every Fox reporter says: “Putin may be evil, but boy I wish we had a strong leader like him!”… these guys can be relied upon to open their Nazi-kvells with a similar clause about the 1940s German war machine: 

“Oh sure, they were evil. But boy were they competent! They made great weapons, had super generals, and they sure could fight.”

Those Panzer and Tiger tanks were wow! And the V2 rocket! And that ME 262 jet fighter! And the Bismarck was amazing! And look how that blitzkrieg tactic plowed through the stunned Brits & frogs! 

And while we’re at it, let’s rave about the Confederacy! Sure, slavery was bad, but oh how old Bobby Lee and Nathan Bedford Forest ran rings around Union generals! yeehaw.

One moron tried this crap on the wrong guy, down in one of my Google+ comment threads.  It steamed me so much, I quick-typed a response.  And – well – you know me. I hate to waste a shoot-down on just one jerk. So this is for the rest of you out there who follow that cult, and those who want ammo to oppose it:

== A message for Nazi-admiring loons ==

“I see you buy into one of the most blatant symptoms of a mass psychosis -- a macho religion that portrays the Nazis as superior in some ways, even if regrettably murderous. That mythology lets you portray this as some kind of spectrum or tradeoff, implying that sometimes a guy’s gotta be a bit evil to win.

“Bull. That’s just you justifying yourself, in retrospect, for the nerds and little guys you bullied, back in school. I don’t have time to shred your entire, insipid cult, but here are just a few items:

“First, the Bismark is stunningly over-rated. It had such a poor steering system that one miserable torpedo hit far from the rudder made them sitting ducks. Instead of quickly restoring function, as U.S. Navy mechanics would have done -- (rescuing savaged vessels like the Yorktown, in stunning time -- the Reichsmarine repair crews only made things worse.

"Oh, and the Bismark had such lousy fire direction systems that obsolete Swordfish biplanes sent by the Ark Royal managed to carry out all their attacks without even one of them being shot down. Not one. A single Japanese or American destroyer would have made flinders of the entire squadron before they ever came into range.

“Sure, the HMS Hood was destroyed by a lucky shot from the Bismarck, when arrogant Brits ignored their own safety rules. Only dig what’s fundamental, fellah. The Bismarck and Tirpitz were commerce raiders and convoy destroyers – that destroyed zero commerce. Aside from the non-strategic asset of the Hood, they accomplished nothing. Failure is a kinda-big detriment to the whole “at least they were competent” thing.

“Oh! But then there’s the endless, blah blah adoration of German Wehrmacht tanks! Only you guys are crazy. Sure Panzers and Tigers were impressive machines…and each one used four times as many handcrafted parts as a T34, letting the Russians out-produce them in floods.

“By the way, the much maligned Sherman that you twerps dismiss was by far the best tank of WWII at a tank's main job, which is infantry support. Easy to make and trivial to maintain in the field, with unmatched visibility, it was by far the best infantry support tank in existence and swarmed in great numbers alongside troops, protecting them and protected by them. In other words, it did exactly what it was competently designed to do, and take the word of Gen. George Patton on that.

“Generally, Shermans did not try to duel Tigers – a false, strawman comparison posed by Nazi-lovers. We had other weapons for that. Great big 90mm, then 105mm (M7) and later 155mm (M12) equipped tank destroyer/mobile artillery that could be mass produced, ten for every tiger. Yet they killed tigers one for one on the battlefield. Less romantic than tanks and hence, idiots completely ignore them.

“Yes, the V2 was impressive, and it cost more in money and resources than 100 fighter planes, the lack of which left Germany torched. Oh, and many failed because the slave laborers sabotaged them. Many others overshot because of tricks by British Intelligence

“As for the ME 262, sure it was impressive. The Brits had a fighter deploying to face it. But that proved unnecessary. Our P51s simply waited for a 262 to burn out its fuel. We then just followed them back to base and shredded them landing... and the base, as well.”

Late note: One of you in comments added: "The British victory in the Battle of Britain was a result of British technological advancements and knowing how to use these advancements effectively as part of an organised defence system. This was also the case for the Allied success in the Battle of Atlantic." 

Yep, from radar and acoustics to sonar systems below and centimeter radars above, that the U boats never even suspected, allowing planes to catch them surfaced at night, to Ultra code decipherment, to proximity fuses, to electronic mine sweepers... every Nazi "competence" could be matched by dozens on the allied side... once the allies made one simple decision. To stop being gullible.

I could go on and on.  But why bother? Nothing will penetrate your vile habit of admiring evil movements, just because they seem (to you) to be “strong.”  

== This cult has to go ==

That dashed-off set of answers to one idiot won’t end the treasonous cult of Nazi-admiring dopes who murmur: “sure, they were evil but….”

There is no ‘but!’ The Nazis were schmucks who drove out every decent scientist and many fine engineers from what had been the leading scientific nation, before Hitler. Scientists who strengthened our side and helped make us unbeatable. Just as the Fox-Koch-Trump madness is driving all the scientists and other fact-users out of today’s loony-mutant version of American conservatism.

Oh, but what about those blazing German victories early in the war? I have long held that we live in the universe where Nazis got every break handed to them, from Stalin killing all his generals to the French refusing to form an armored division, to Chamberlain believing everything that Putin… er, um, someone else… told him. And yes, the same applies to the American Civil War, when initial Union stupidity – not Southern brilliance -- gave the Confederacy victories.

Only now, another ingredient to the puzzle has surfaced! See a new book Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich about the Germans' secret weapon that helped them win early battles... and that ensured they'd grow so crazed, by a few years later, that they became complete dolts on the battlefield. Norman Ohler documents how that regime, and Hitler himself, were very likely stoned most of the time on Pervetin, essentially crystal meth, which enabled them (at first) to send armies dashing through places like the Ardennes, because German soldiers went up to ten days at a stretch without sleep.

In fairness a rather weak – and misguidedly moralistic – attempted rebuttal of Ohler’s case is offered by The Guardian

This - by the way - sheds new light not only on the Wehrmacht’s Ardennes breakout but on the subsequent Miracle of Dunkirk, dramatized in a new film (Dunkirk) by director Christopher Nolan. Varied theories have been offered, for why the Nazis did not press a final attack, in order annihilate the cornered British Expeditionary Force. One hypothesis holds that Hitler didn’t want to humiliate the British, quasi-Aryans he wished to have as allies, a notion that’s not just preposterous but noxiously so. A better explanation attributes the miracle to frenetic heroism on the part of a dozen French divisions, who battled to help their BEF comrades (and some French) to escape. Only now, Blitzed offers the best theory of all. The forces of Guderian and Rommel were shagged! After more than a week without sleep, German soldiers had collapsed into a meth-crash. If ordered to attack, they’d have gone in like movie zombies, just as easy to kill.

Of course this is what happened on a larger scale to the Nazi regime and forces, as a whole. By 1945 they were like Hitler, palsied and fried, making dismal freshman mistakes of generalship and hallucinating whatever fables British Intelligence fed them. And yes, the parallels with today are so blatant I needn’t go any farther.

== Could they have won? ==

We’ve been enjoying Amazon’s dramatized extension of Philip K. Dick’s classic novel The Man In The High Castle, whose expanded canvas remains faithful to the original, while giving us several of the most memorable villains in television, since Breaking Bad.

Though not without some critique. New York artist John Powers riffs cogently and tellingly about this recent television sensation, as well as HBO’s Westworld. Powers makes some interesting points – e.g. that the producers of these shows ostensibly are anti-oppression and favor egalitarian impulses; but that they wind up partly undermining their own message with excess respect for the villains’ underlying message. 

To believe in Westworld, you must believe in an off-screen world dominated by an economic elite that craves the freedoms and privileges of the wild-west, a future drenched in a nostalgia for 19th century Manifest Destiny. - that is a future drowning in 19th century inequality.”

Powers make fascinating points about the unsupportable levels of wealth inequality we are rapidly approaching – a situation that does not bide well for the very same aristocracy that is manipulating for it, hand over fist.

No, we are facing a long struggle ahead, folks, against the very same side of the human spirit that gave us the Nazis and the Confederacy and that lurks in some -- not all -- of the fantasy side of our science fiction genre. Romanticism is impervious to fact or disproof. It concocts incantations that glow by their own light, needing no footing in science or argument, negotiation or reason. This is why our current wave of American romanticism wages war on every knowledge profession or caste in the nation, against even the concept of verifiable -- or falsifiable -- fact.

For years I have said: "forget the hoary-stupid "left-right" metaphor. This is a return to the Civil War that periodically wracked the United States since 1778, and has burst forth at least eight times, since we broke away from England. 

Now all pretense is gone, as we see virtually every major federal department in Donald Trump's government will be led by someone from a former Confederate state.

It will not be easy to stand up for the Union, this round. But other generations of Americans stood, and so can we.  And it starts with simple things, like taking a stance of zero-tolerance toward insipid morons who speak of "grudging admiration" for movements that were not just vile, but also moronic.

"Sure they were evil, but..."

There is no but.

== Miscellany! ==

Between 1990 and 2013 (the last year for which there is good data), the number of people living in extreme poverty dropped by more than half, from 1.85 billion to 770 million. At the same time, child mortality has dropped by nearly half, while literacy, vaccinations and the number of people living in democracy have all increased. Resist the gloom merchants of both right and left!

There were an estimated of 20 million horses in March 1915 in the United States, at the point where motor vehicle just began taking jobs away from them. A USDA census in 1959 showed the horse population had dropped to 4.5 million. Numbers began to rebound somewhat, and by 1968 there were about 7 million horses, mostly used for riding. In 2005, there were about 9 million horses.

Sick of lame efforts to divide us according to rigid generational categories, like boomer, Genex, or Millennial? Sure, there are polemical uses… but some are starting a movement to call themselves “perennials.” Or members of a greater whole, spanning all ages. The most important thing - after all - is your state of mind.  And ability to walk to the fridge.

So way cool… a compilation on Hollywood film-makers’ matte-artistry, doing believable backgrounds that supply settings for movies.

Okay… Razer’s Project Valerie is a laptop that deploys three… yes three… 17+ inch screens.

Keep your eyes open for a very interesting book by Phil Torres: “Morality, Foresight, and Human Flourishing An Introduction to Existential Risk Studies.”

This would make an excellent add-on to my popular essay -- Whose Rapture?  “Security experts should also keep an eye on 2039, since this year is the 1200th anniversary of the Mahdi’s occultation in the Twelver Shia tradition (which is a minority tradition, but dominant in countries like Iran). As the Islamic scholar David Cook conjectures, “the 1000-year anniversary of the Mahdi’s occultation was a time of enormous messianic disturbance that ultimately led to the emergence of the Bahai faith. ... [A]nd given the importance of the holy number 12 in Shiism, the twelfth century after the occultation could also become a locus of messianic aspirations.”
== Wisdom ==
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently.”

"Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words are the weapon of lawyers."
 — William Taylor of Arizona


Revsandy said...

Thank you for sharing your responses to the 'Nazi war machine was so awesome' nonsense.
As a student of military history with a particular interest in the Second World War I have been constantly frustrated with the obsession on Nazi Germany's supposed technical supremacy during the war that all too often ignored reality. The British victory in the Battle of Britain was a result of British technological advancements and knowing how to use these advancements effectively as part of an organised defence system. This was also the case for the Allied success in the Battle of Atlantic. This was in many cases the root of the Allied success, that unlike the Nazis they knew how to use the technology and learned from their mistakes.
One historical curiosity is that the British developed fighter jet, the Meteor, was used as part of the defence system against the V1 cruise missiles, shooting down some. The first success occurred through the Meteor 'tipping' the wings of the V1, rather than shooting it down!

TCB said...

I got curious about why the US could not field a monster tank, heavier than the Sherman, to go toe-to-toe against the Tiger. After all, the US was able to build the biggest bomber aircraft (other than the British Lancaster). The US built the atom bomb! A heavy tank is not such a challenge...

Well, it turns out that this was basically a running argument that American war planners had for a couple of years. Unlike the Germans or the Soviets, if the US Army wanted to send a tank to the front, it had to be shipped across an ocean. So maybe it made more sense to send two medium tanks and not one heavy. Also, the allies had lots of ways to do a Tiger tank in, such as British Typhoon fighter bombers with 60 pound rockets on the wings. Bad news for German tankers. In fact, why not send a few hundred B-17 bombers to plow an entire German armored division into the earth? That happened once or twice.

In the final few months of the war, the Army sent some new M-26 Pershing tanks into Germany, just to be thorough... by then there were very few Tigers and Panthers left for them to chew on.

Paul SB said...

Here's a little tidbit to throw out at those more overtly racist types: One of those technological feats that turned the tide of WW II was the invention of radar, which was created by a team led by Puerto Rican physicist Luis Alvarez (whose son, Walter, was the fellow who figured out what did in the dinosaurs, decades later).

Another thought that occurred to me was that those huge armored Tiger tanks, when compared to one of our little Shermans, look a lot like Goliath coming up against David. But it was no miracle that allowed the Allies to beat the German tank corps, it was strategy. Brains over brawn. Good talking points. You could say something similar about the U.S. Civil War. I once read an article in the International Journal of Nautical Archaeology in which the author identified a rusted hulk in a park somewhere as the remains of a Confederate submarine. Now that is just fine - good work. But the author then went on to praise the Confederacy for having created the submarine in the first place, while the Union did not seem to be putting as much effort into such underwater R&D. But ... er ... who won that war? If that little submarine had been strategically important, then the Confederacy was foolish to not produce many more of them and refine the technology.

David Brin said...

Also it's doctrine. We had armored divisions but they had a lot of infantry because our forces believed in mixed arms. a dozen tigers weren't so tough when faced with Shermans plus big mobile guns plus vigorous infantry.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

A Reichstag fire, a terror attack or a foreign war could tip things horribly.

I've been expecting a terrorist attack on a Trump Tower somewhere in the world, but it hadn't occurred to me that it might be a false-flag operation.

TCB said...

Another general point about the Fascists versus the Allies: the Fascist powers were really, really corrupt. And that's inefficient. Before Harry Truman became Franklin Roosevelt's Vice President in the 1944 election he was a senator from Missouri, and he chaired the Truman Committee, formally known as the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program.

"The bipartisan special committee was formed in March 1941 to find and correct problems in US war production—problems with waste, inefficiency and war profiteering. The Truman Committee proved to be one of the most successful investigative efforts ever mounted by the US government: an initial budget of $15,000 was expanded over three years to $360,000 to save an estimated $10–15 billion in military spending, and thousands of lives of US servicemen.[2][3][4] For comparison, the entire cost of the Manhattan Project was $2 billion, at the time."

I believe President Roosevelt said that the Truman Committee was worth an army division.

I also get he feeling that Truman would have thrown Dick Cheney in prison.

Tim H. said...

I'd say German tech happened in spite of the NAZIs, but one telling point, I've never heard of anyone hopping up an old German warbird to race at Reno. Another bit of data, Churchill stated in his WW2 history that the V2 was estimated to cost as much as a deHaviland Mosquito and delivered a comparable amount of explosives, once, while a Mosquito was expected to complete 10~12 missions before it was either shot down, or too knackered to economically repair. Regarding the Sherman, as has been said before, quantity has a quality of it's own.

TCB said...

By the way, at a lifetime cost on the order of a million dollars, the Truman Committee paid for the Manhattan Project ($2 billion), the entire US carrier fleet ($7 billion seems about right) and a couple of billion more (which pays for all 49,000 Shermans).

And that's if the Truman Committee only saved $10 billion and not 15.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi Tim H
A comparable amount - but the Mosquito would deliver it to a small target - the V2 was an area weapon so the 10:1 ratio was really 10,000:1 - or worse

Troutwaxer said...

Nothing to add, Mr. Brin, but well said and timely. You win the Internet today!

David Brin said...

Seriously. Here's a call to the group mind. Please name the major Trump appointments who aren't from the Olde Confederacy. I count four, so far.

David Brin said...

I doubt the V2 cost the same as a Mosquito. The brilliance of the Mosquito's wooden design was that it didn't need aluminum or even much steel. Goering was horrified. "They can convert a piano factory to make these!" In resources taken from other purposes, I doubt that fifty mosquitoes had as much production impact as one V2.

In just copper alone, I hear tell that V2 production prevented the launching of dozens of Model XIII U boats.

David Brin said...

I meant type XXI boats.

Revsandy said...

The Germans tried to develop their own version of the Mosquito, even calling it the Ta 154 Moskito. The project faced a variety of challenges including intense Nazi infighting over the nature of the project as well as promoting various competitors and there was a a Bomber Command raid that destroyed the factory making the glue used in its construction. The inferior replacement glue led to a number of crashes-and also impacted another emergency project the He 162 jet 'People's fighter'-and the eventual cancellation of the project. Meanwhile Mosquitos were used in their thousands as bomber, night-fighter, tactical air-strike and reconnaissance aircraft.

Acacia H. said...

98 days.

If I'm wrong? I'm wrong. But he's going to be impeached.

What is going to be interesting is what the massive demonstrations that took place on the 21st will have on Republican strategy. Women have just woken up and remembered they are powerful. They have also stated "hands off our birth control and reproductive rights."

Republicans may very well "hold off" on a few things like banning abortion or the like. Just until 2018, and trying for enough of a hold on the Senate that they can start pushing through Constitutional Amendments.

But I think Trump is going to do something that reminds Republicans that they cannot control him... and that while 10 years of Pence may be preferable, eight years would be far better. And I need to sell off my stocks next. The stock market will be crashing in the next several months. A year at most.

And that is going to be the nail that costs Republicans their empire. Because when stocks crash, companies lay off workers. Unemployed people don't buy products. Companies are "forced" to let go even more people. And the cycle continues. And the Republican Party's enthrallment with Austerity means you won't have anything remotely Keynesian done to the economy... and any infrastructure projects would not have scaled up by that point, which means Republicans will cut infrastructure spending first to try and save money.

Rob H.

Tony Fisk said...

Basic message: economies win wars, which is, I suppose, what anti-corruption drives and the Cold War were about.

I gather that Russian tank design was pretty decent, too. British tanks had decent chassis, but had underpowered armament. It wasn't until Tobruk that it was realised what cool anti-tank weapons 88mm anti-aircraft cannon made.

At Normandy, Germans took to embedding tigers in the middle of fields. It sacrificed mobility in exchange for making them harder to winkle out (although a typhoon called in at the end of its patrol was just as like as not to let fly with a full missile salvo rather than fly home with live ordinance.).

Pershing (?) heavy tanks were only deployed at the very end of the war in Europe. There was only one recorded instance of a Pershing vs a Tiger2. Stabilisers allowed the Pershing to fire whilst moving. Tiger lost.

wrt the women's march. Wow! The Trump response put me firmly in mind of the first days of the Abbott govt: the Imperial March meets banana skin. I think the CNN headline on the press conference summed it up beautifully: "White House Press Secretary Attacks Media For Accurately Reporting Size of Inauguration Crowds."

Keep up the pressure. Day 2, and these guys have already lost their mojo.

Lloyd Flack said...

I recommend reading Why the Allies Won by Richard Overy. This disposes of some claimed reasons for Allied victory and explores the real ones.
Allied victory was not inevitable or the result simply of numbers or industrial strength. Instead it was the result of effectively turning economic power into fighting power, effectively using technology, logistics, better leadership and moral superiority with the consequent stronger motivation.

Dwight Williams said...

About those Constitutional amendments: don't forget the state legislatures and governors' chairs over the course of the elections to be held on your side of the border this year and the next. Not for one second.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

Basic message: economies win wars, which is, I suppose, what anti-corruption drives and the Cold War were about.

And that's a significant point--there's some of the same dynamic at work here which has altered news organizations such that their mission is not to educate the public, but to make money.

In WWII, the goal was to win the war. In our 21st Century wars so far, the whole point of the war is to make someone a boatload of money.

Lorraine said...

And while we’re at it, let’s rave about the Confederacy! Sure, slavery was bad, but oh how old Bobby Lee and Nathan Bedford Forest ran rings around Union generals! yeehaw

That, and they basically invented submarine warfare.

Tim H. said...

Dr. Brin, I've got to take Winston Churchill's opinion over yours. Consider that beyond the turbopumps and gyroscopic stabilization , the V2 was fairly simple, while the Mosquito had a pair of 1650 cubic inch, 2 stage supercharged V-12 engines that added a lot to the bill of materials.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

I think the CNN headline on the press conference summed it up beautifully: "White House Press Secretary Attacks Media For Accurately Reporting Size of Inauguration Crowds."

It's nice to see that the press is finally showing some backbone. It would have been nicer had they done so when it would have made a difference.

They rode Trump to the finish line because he was great for ratings. I was going to say that they should have factored in the effect he'd have on them after he won, but in fact, until the Comey Betrayal, I doubt that "Trump actually winning" was on anybody's radar. Playing him up for ratings and then laughing all the way to the bank after Nov 8 probably seemed like a winning strategy.

Zepp Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

Too many typos in the original. Reposted:
Just yesterday, some Trumpalooma on the Guardian, reacting to the story about Canadian women being stopped at the border after announcing they were going to the protests (and nearly everyone agreed that while America did have the right to do that, it looked weak and petty) suggested that Cheetolini might consider invading Canada. He might have been joking, but with that crowd, Poe's Law is always in effect.
I replied that as a Canadian, I would be quite pleased if Trump did that. He would micromanage the military strategy, and as a result, Canada would end up with New York, New England, and much of Cascadia.
A couple of things to remember about fascist strongmen of fairly recent history:
Mussolini did not "make the trains run on time." In fact, he damned near destroyed the Italian rail system. By the time of his "glorious victory" in Ethiopia, the train companies had quit printing schedules because they were meaningless.
Hitler did not "improve the German economy." He made slaves of a quarter of the population and stole their property. It's pretty easy to look well-off if you are on the receiving end of a plunder economy.

Acacia H. said...

Two things. First, this story should be read by everyone here, including anonymous posters and lurkers. It is about the increasing threat of nuclear war and the impact that even one nuclear detonation in a major city would have on the world economies and politics. In short? It doesn't look good for democracy and freedom should something happen.

Next? I'll repost something I put up on Facebook. Please, feel free to share this on any Social Network of your choice. Spread the word. Because this is one message that should be heard:

I just wanted to toss a small thought out to the millions of women who protested yesterday. You have woken and you have seen you are powerful. But you cannot go back to sleep. Nor can you rely on traditional politicians to protect you.

No. As Bernie Sanders pointed out, we are the ones who need to continue moving forward and retake our country. And that means entering the fray. Going into politics. And I cannot think of anyone better suited for this than you, the women who had the courage and incentive to walk yesterday and have your voice be heard.

So I humbly ask that you enter into politics as politicians. I don't mean just on the Federal level. No, you are needed on the local and state level. We need women who refused to back down, who said "we will be heard! We will not be shut out again!" and to step up and continue being seen and heard.

And the rest of us need to support you. Those who don't step forward and go on the political stage need to back you and not be petty or distracted by inconsequentialities. They, the entrenched political powers on both sides of the coin, will seek to divide and dissuade you. They will try to say "you have no power, and your march was only allowed by us because we are generous."

Here is the thing. They realize they only have power because we believe they do. But believe in yourselves. And believe in each other. We will retake our country. And in doing so we will find we, the People, are great. Not the country. Not the politicians. The People itself.

I have faith in you.

Rob H.

ZarPaulus said...

I think the notion that the Nazis were somehow technologically superior comes from a mixture of the U.S. government granting several ex-Nazi scientists asylum for the space race, and fiction writers trying to make one of the least competent regimes of the 20th century look more menacing.

Ahcuah said...

@Robert: "What is going to be interesting is what the massive demonstrations that took place on the 21st will have on Republican strategy. Women have just woken up and remembered they are powerful."

However, I suspect the Republican Congress is so ideologically locked-in that it won't make a whit of difference to them.

Twominds said...

@ Rob H. 8:07 AM

I'll read the article after my bunch of job applications for today. Thanks for the link.

But I do take a small break to leave some links on women needing to run:

How to run for office and When women run, they win, tips for running.

From Slate, two of their more in-depth articles.

Anonymous said...

Looks like you've got your rose-colored blinkers on tight, as usual. Contained communism? Pinochet torture camps, stingers for the freedom fighters who then turned sour when USAID was pulled in the 1990s (balancing the budget, no commies left to murder). Oops! And if America was about spreading democracy, why did it kill it in Iran? The economy? Everything else worth noting had been bombed out, and then on the Democrat front it was Kennedy who nixed the tax on the rich, and then Carter unregulated the formerly profitable trucking middle class, and the Clinton involvement with hand-outs to big corps is rather well known. (A good reason for Democrat voters to stay home. And they did! Oops!) And if your stroad bridged sprawl is progress, heh. Go read Strong Towns for the predicament America faces, as documented by the data collected in Lafayette: a 533% tax increase, and that just to tread water. And the solution is to poop out yet more infrastructure? Heh.

Unknown said...

David - Always good to have rebuttal material - although factual arguments tend to bounce right off most die hard boneheads, every now and then one can get through. Thanks!

Robert - RE: the Women's March yesterday - there has been recognition that this was only the beginning of a marathon. The Facebook Event page for my local event morphed/points to a new group aimed at maintaining the energy and focus we felt yesterday (in my deep red southern city, we had a turn out of 2000 - far beyond what we expected, and in a downpour to boot!). Know also - all those pink hats you saw? Those were hand-made. Many of them by people unable to attend the events. So as staggering as the visual numbers were, there were even more to be counted.
I fully realize that not everyone who participated by attending or by creating will stay committed, but the damage already being done to the country (the probable brain drain of scientists and researchers leaving had not occurred to me until now) will likely keep it in the forefront - never mind what Cheetolini (love that designation!), his Lies Secretary or Propaganda Barbie Do do to twist the truth!

Acacia H. said...

Twominds, thank you for those links. I have shared them on Facebook once I saw them here. I appreciate your input in this.

Rob H.

Arizsun Ahola said...

At the Battle of Denmark Straight where HMS Hood was sunk by Bismarck, Bismarck was also mission killed by a hit from HMS Prince of Wales that opened her forward fuel tanks to the ocean. She was incapable of continuing her commerce raiding mission after that hit and had to try to return for repairs. It was during the return attempts that she was sunk.

BTW, evidence suggests that Hood was destroyed by a hit that penetrated her aft belt and detonated her 4" magazine. The explosion from the 4" magazine propagated aft into her aft 15" magazine which then also detonated, destroying the ship. It was a very lucky hit from Bismarck. Prince of Wales ought to have been leading as she was a much more modern and better protected ship, even if she still had about 100 workmen on board finishing her construction.

As to the Luftwaffe vs the USAAF and RAF, there is nothing the Germans had that we couldn't counter. Had the issue ever been in doubt there would have been squadrons of Meteor Mk IIIs and P-80s deployed to counter the Me262. As it was the P-51s, P-47s, Spitfires and Tempests were being pressed into ground attack operations because there wasn't enough Luftwaffe for them to fight.

The top scoring Allied ace in Europe, Johnnie Johnson, who scored 39 kills, all single engined fighters, was asked once why he hadn't matched Erich Hartmann's 352 kills. He replied that he hadn't seen that many enemy aircraft in the entire war. The Germans, and Finns and Japanese as well, were able to have a few exceptional pilots put up ridiculous numbers like that because they were in a "target rich environment", which is a euphemism for "losing", and because unlike the Americans and British they didn't rotated their veteran pilots back to rest and train new pilots, they flew until they died.

I'll finish it up with a quote from Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering regarding the excellent British Mosquito:

""In 1940 I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again. What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked."

Arizsun Ahola said...

Tim H,

The record for sorties completed by any combat aircraft in WWII was by a Mosquito B.Mk IX at 213 operations. 12 to 13 operations from a single airframe would be unusually low.

Mosquitoes also had, by far, the lowest loss rate of Allied bombers. Less that 0.5% per operation compared to about 3.5% for Lancasters, which was still lower than other RAF bombers.

MillenniumCrow said...


Overy is a good resource. If I remember correctly, he also pointed out how the Allies sustained massive losses in their initial bombing offensives, but were able to learn from their mistakes and change their strategy. Once they committed themselves to achieving air superiority the Luftwaffe never had a chance.

Also, let's not forget the influence of one General of the Army George C. Marshall, who laid the foundation for many of the Army's accomplishments by hand-picking the right generals to lead in the field and empowering them to get the job done. His Army was a learning institution: when it got its butt kicked at Kasserine Pass it learned the right lessons and applied them to great effect. U.S. forces were organized and equipped for maximum flexibility and mobility, and it showed in their ability to rack up tactical victories and translate them into operational ones.

David Brin said...

The confeds did not invent the submarine.

Anonymous... you live in the world that Pax Americana built. All you do you yammer at some crimes and yes, empires commit crimes. We are human and those who get power often misuse it.

No where's your comparisons? Show us who even acquire the titanic amounts of power that the USA sis, in the 1940s and used it so well? With such a high ratio of good actions to crimes? And don't bullshit us that the ratio is not high. America is vastly vastly more popular around the world that were earlier empires. Pax Romana, Pax Brittanica, and for damned good reason.... LOOK at the fraction of world children who have a roof, electricity, a basic fridge and schoolbooks and at least a little fredom.

If you are here to argue how Pax Americana could be done better, then we are happy to discuss and compare.

If you are here just to preen and flounce and show us Allende and Mossadegh without mentioning the UN or Japan or the Marshall Plan or four generations of folks around the world spending the lowest amounts on arms of any nations in history...?

Then all you are is a yammering fool.

Paul SB said...

Our anonymous fool doesn't seem to see that while both US political parties have sold out to corporate interests to some degree, it is the Republicans who have made selling out to corporate interests into some sort of virtue.

Rob H.,

I have to say that was the best, most inspiring thing I have read in quite awhile! Even compared to the texts my mother sent me from the march she was in. Your words have been shared on my Facebook (if you look me up and request a "friend" I would be happy to, but Rob H. turns up a lot of names ... same for Larry Hart, I'm afraid). I will also share those links that Twominds posted. The war is only beginning.

LarryHart said...

Katharine Slonaker:

never mind what Cheetolini (love that designation!)

The Stephanie Miller show (on Chicago's WCPT) has a whole slew of nicknames for His Illegitimacy. That's where I first heard Cheetolini used, and I'm gratified to see it stick. If I had to narrow my usage down to one name, that one would probably win.

Acacia H. said...

To be honest, Paul, even if I use my proper name you still have tremendous problems finding me. There are a couple other Robert Howards out there who tend to show up when you do Google Searches. I'm a nobody in comparison.

That said, if I ever finish my rewrites and get one of my novels published, I'll undoubtedly have people buying my book thinking it's a lost novel from a certain author who I am not but who people have actually asked "are you THE Robert Howard?"

Only if I'm a zombie that keeps surviving by eating the brains of those fans who ask if I'm "the" Robert Howard.

Rob H.

Zepp Jamieson said...

My designations for him that are (as far as I know) original to me are Putnik, and the term Trumpaloompas for his supporters.

LarryHart said...

I just figured out how Orange Hitler plans to keep his campaign promise about Mexico.

He'll pardon El-Chappo, who in return will pay for the wall.

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

Tried to go the march in LA yesterday. Couldn't get closer than the North Hollywood metro station. We unintentionally delivered a distributed denial of service attack on the Metro filling the buses and trains near their outermost stations making them unable to pick up anyone closer to the center. We originally tried to board a bus at the Balboa station, but wound up taking one westward to the end of the line. That's the only reason we got as far as we did. So... we did our own mini-protest at the train station along with everyone else who got stuck there, plunked some money down with local stores buying lunch and coffee, and then we went home.

There were a lot of guys. Many of them wore those pink hats and were obviously paired up with a woman there to protest. I wore one too for awhile and then shifted to my blue kepi.

There were a large number of disabled women.

There were a large number of women with children in tow. EVERYONE made adjustments to what they were doing when the kids where nearby. At lunch, I got to watch a whole room full of people (women and men both) keep a distributed watch on some free range toddlers. No one planned for any of this behavior, but it emerged anyway. I think that says a lot about the mental states of all involved.

One thing was missing, though. I expected a few counter-protesters. Instead? Zero.

Many were disappointed that we couldn't get into the city proper, but I did my best to smile at them and point out that we'd probably have opportunities to do this again in the near future. I wish I could have recorded their facial expressions. The coming years will be interesting.

David Brin said...

My wife went to the San DIego march. Now we're being drenched.

Jumper said...

Fun reading about the Yeltsin arc. A cautionary tale.

Dennis M Davidson said...

From NYC Women's March: our train from Connecticutt was standing room only. Grand Central was a madhouse of activity with arrivals pouring in all day. The march itself felt celebratory and determined. I saw no counter demonstrators. Saw few police sometimes no more than 2 or 3 per block.

We had partly sunny weather. Perfect for such a massive demo. Everyone I spoke to agreed that we have much work to do over the next four years and beyond.

Tony Fisk said...

Yes. However huge and empowering, one demonstration isn't going to do anything to fix the problem. However vile, Trump *is* only a symptom (albeit a potentially lethal one)

Says Joe "What they forgot to kill, went to organise..."

Meanwhile, did anyone hear that the National Park Service was forbidden to use their twitter accounts after mentioning the non-alternative inauguration sizes? Someone must have bent the knee, because there are a couple of new messages. First, an apology. Next something bland and mundane. From the replies, I don't think I'm the only one seeing a subtext.

Tim H. said...

The subject reminds me of one of my favorite movie lines "I hate Illinois NAZIs"

Alfred Differ said...

Saw water in a river here in Ventura county that has been dry since shortly after I got here almost 7 years ago. Neat. For that, I'll happily fix the house and dry our wet carpets.

Someone oughta find the NPS staffer who issued the tweet and buy them lunch... and dinner... and buy them a flower... and give them a hug... 8)

donzelion said...

Rob H: Appreciate this sentiment - "We will retake our country. And in doing so we will find we, the People, are great. Not the country. Not the politicians. The People itself."

In 2003, I gave up on California: watching as a collection of crooks colluded with Washington and Texas barons to loot this state, then turned out their preferred innocent scapegoat after arranging a massive budget deficit. They won the battle, but the state is better now, and California was taken back by Californians.

In many political and legal contexts, California leads the rest of the country by a decade. I don't see how, or where, or what will bring about what needs to happen, but this time around, I'd love to help some of those millions of women (and men) in the effort of taking back our country.

David Brin said...

Alfred contact me separately by email so I can connect you with a Ventura pal.

Twominds said...

Another quick post, who in this community knows about these guys:

Operation 45: Transparency and Accountability for the Administration of Donald J. Trump, our soon-to-be 45th President.

“Transparency luminaries” Ryan Shapiro and Jeffrey Light have for years exposed government secrecy and overreach at the FBI, CIA, NSA, and numerous other agencies.

Now they need your help to take on President Trump and his cronies!

Shapiro and Light need your donations to sue the Trump/Pence administration again and again for documents revealing what this new government is actually doing with our tax dollars and in our names!

Is this legit?

Unknown said...

Just as a point. There is some argument (which can probably never be proven) that Chamberlain was not in anyway "fooled" by Hitler, but that he choose to sacrifice his political career to buy Britain the time it needed to rearm itself.

That would be a nice story if it's true.

Lloyd Flack said...

Chamberlain probably overestimated the forces that Hitler had and thought that he needed to buy more time.
Germany had the advantage of starting to rearm earlier than Britain or France and its relative strength was probably greatest in 1939 or 1940. So they probably started the war at the best time for them.

Lloyd Flack said...

In a war everyone is familiar with the faults of their own side's equipment but is less familiar with the other side's difficulties and all too aware of the ether side's strengths. This can lead to "the grass is greener on the other side" complaints about their own equipment. A lot of the overestimation of German World War 2 weapons comes from this source.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

My wife went to the San DIego march. Now we're being drenched.

Nature sympathized.

LarryHart said...

Lloyd Flack:

Germany had the advantage of starting to rearm earlier than Britain or France and its relative strength was probably greatest in 1939 or 1940. So they probably started the war at the best time for them.

I just a few years ago read "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich". It was a library copy which I don't have here for reference, but I coulda sworn that it asserted that Hitler wanted to wait for a later year--possibly it was as late as 1945--for war with Britain, and was somewhat taken aback by Britain's going to war on behalf of Poland after they let him take Austria and Czechoslovakia.

If I'm recalling the book correctly, and if you are also right about the reality of the situation, then "starting the war at the best time for them" was another bit of dumb luck on Hitler's part.

LarryHart said...

Lloyd Flack:

In a war everyone is familiar with the faults of their own side's equipment but is less familiar with the other side's difficulties and all too aware of the ether side's strengths. This can lead to "the grass is greener on the other side" complaints about their own equipment. A lot of the overestimation of German World War 2 weapons comes from this source.

Doesn't much of the overestimation of Nazi strength come from the fact that they were winning so much at the start? Just as ISIS seemed like an unstoppable juggernaut for awhile? When there's a side that wants war and a side that doesn't want war, the first side is going to have an advantage for a while, until the other side grudgingly wakes up. In that initial interval, the willing aggressor looks unbeatable--until they don't.

I sincerely hope that the dynamic between His Illegitimacy and the American press plays out in a like manner.

Robert said...

The Nazis were living off of, and undermining, the efficiency and honesty of the Prussian civil service and army, dating from reforms made in the wars of liberation from Napoleon and even, in some cases, under Frederick the Great. They also deliberately suppressed the tradition of superb local government going back to city-states of the Holy Roman Empire. Fortunately, the German virtues came back in West Germany - thanks to Pax Americana and the fact that the Nazis only lasted 12 years.

Also, any "German" efficiency is something they share with many countries in the region; the Dutch, Danes, and Swedes are just as efficient and then some.

Bob Pfeiffer.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

My designations for him that are (as far as I know) original to me are Putnik, and the term Trumpaloompas for his supporters.

As far as I can tell, I didn't get "His Illegitimacy" from any other source, but I can't swear that no one else has used it.

LarryHart said...

@Bob Pfeiffer,

Waitaminute, are there two separate individuals posting here as "Robert"?

A.F. Rey said...

Your story about German tanks reminded me of what my father (who fought during WWII) told me about German guns.

German rifles were also finely-crafted arms, with close tolerances and well-oiled parts. Russian guns, by contrast, were somewhat slap-dash armaments, which would rattle when shaken and not always fire when you pulled the trigger.

But when it came to actual battle conditions, the Russian arms were superior. Because when slogging through the infamous Russian mud, a German rifle's parts would get dirty, requiring the gun to be disassembled and thoroughly cleaned. The Russian guns would only need a good wipe, or even just a good shake, to get them working again. So while the Germans were trying to clean their guns, the Russians would still be shooting.

This helps explains why the Kalashnikov (e.g. AK-47) is still one of the most popular rifles in the battlefield.

So the legendary German craftsmanship did not help them with their rifles, either.

TCB said...

LarryHart asks:

"Doesn't much of the overestimation of Nazi strength come from the fact that they were winning so much at the start?"

One of Hitler's Big Lies in the prewar period was about how big his military was getting, how fast. He would claim to have several times the equipment he really had. I seem to recall that the Luftwaffe would fly its aircraft in a big circle over a rally or parade, so that observers on the ground would see the same planes over and over, thinking instead that there must be hundreds of them.

Or maybe Stalin did that, or they both did... I'm having trouble finding a source, but I'm sure I've heard about it.

In any case, it's generally agreed the German military would have been a pushover for the British and French had they gone after Hitler in the 1936-38 period. The German military gained a lot of good equipment in, for example, Czechoslovakia, which it then used in the invasion of France. Some of that Czech equipment was still in use when the war ended (see for instance the Hetzer tank destroyer.)

LarryHart said...

I saw this on Twitter:

Hillary is president right now. I choose to believe this. #alternativefacts

I'm with HER. :)

I'd love to see Hillary give her own press conferences as President In Exile.

Ioan said...

It seems that the French socialist party finalist wants to deal with automation by placing a tax on robots and automation.…/benoit-hamon-tops-poll-in-fir……/why-benoit-hamon-s-idea-of-a-ro…

We really live in a new world now.

LarryHart said...


t seems that the French socialist party finalist wants to deal with automation by placing a tax on robots and automation.


We really live in a new world now.

Or the world of Kurt Vonnegut's 1953 novel "Player Piano"

Robert said...


There's never only one Robert. And keeping Robert H company is definitely a privilege.

Bob Pfeiffer

LarryHart said...

Several years ago--sorry I don't remember exactly when or who--somebody here posted a story (apocryphal or not) of an ancient Chinese usurper who identified and purged government officials who weren't on his side with a strategy called "Calling a donkey a horse". Whoever insisted on the truth rather than his blatant/obvious lie was not on his side, and therefore a target of purging.

It seems obvious to me that His Illegitimacy and the strategy of #AlternativeFacts is just such a move. No one really believes what Sean Spicer is saying to be true--the point is that those who insist upon agreeing with Cheetolini instead of with Reality are expressing their loyalty. Their faith is that being favored by Orange Hitler does more to improve their lives than acceptance of actual facts does.

Is this what the Democrats and the inhabitants of the "reality-based world" missed in the past election? We thought that obvious misstatements and outright lies branded a candidate as unqualified for high office, but to the non-deplorables who supported Trump, reality had failed them personally, and they were looking for a better alternative. They voted for repealing and replacing Reality with "Something great!"

Acacia H. said...

I am flattered, Mr. Pfeiffer. And yes, there are always multiple Roberts out there and here on Contrary Brin, which is why I've taken to signing my posts with Rob H.

But I would not see keeping my company as a privilege. I am but a storyteller, a speculator, and a critic. And while I have been correct with views in the past... I am not anything to be looked for in forecasting the future. Or even in the accuracy of my views.

They are but opinions.

Rob H.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart> As far as I can tell, I didn't get "His Illegitimacy" from any other source, but I can't swear that no one else has used it.

I remember reading that Republicans referred to Andrew Johnson, who became president upon the death of Lincoln, as "His Accidency." While there was precedent for the vice president taking over upon the death of the President (Harrison, 1841), the Constitution was unclear on the issue, and Republicans were understandably livid that the new President was a Democrat, and a member of a party that largely sided with the Confederacy.

LarryHart said...

@Rob H,

I don't look to you for forecasts of the future (although if you're right about 100 days as well as about the election in the first place, my estimation will go up), but because you are conversant in the language of comic books.

Thus, if I have ever replied to the wrong "Robert" under that mistaken assumption, I apologize.

Kathy said...

Thanks for your blog. I feel so powerless and frustrated at the mere existence of T-Rump and his goons. I really cannot understand how this was allowed to happen, and how people can't seem to comprehend the horrifying danger of having them in power. "Why didn't someone do something?" I ruminate, chewing that cud endlessly, till I think I'm going crazy. Your blogs returns me to sanity, for a while!

Twominds said...

@LarryHart 10:20 AM

At another place I saw it phrased this way: "This is about training people to accept lies. It’s about gaslighting and brainwashing."

I think there´s a lot of thuth in that.

matthew said...

The TPP is dead. Killed this morning, at least the US involvement.

Next will be the announcement, if you believe the rumor mill, that we are asking to renegotiate NAFTA.

It will be curious to look at the details of the replacements, when they are finally released to the public.

My theory is that the new trade deals will look very similar to the old trade deals, but with a new name. Same thing that we *think* may be happening with Obamacare. Make political hay out of fighting against something, then re-adopt it under a new name.

Sad to think that this behavior is a "best case" scenario.

Twominds said...

Well dammit. Two comments eaten now.

Twominds said...

And that´s three. All my comments with links and a bit of descriptions...

Twominds said...

Alright, one link at a time!

With the original text to Rob H. I put in the first time, this morning.

@Rob H 11:19 AM

I've only got time for a link-dump, and I guess you already know most
of them, but here goes:

Former congressional staffers reveal best practices for making Congress listen.
This is basically a guide to the Tea Party’s tactics and if they could
be effective when they were against the majority imagine how much the
same tactics could destroy cheeto-in-chief.

Twominds said...

National Organization for Women (NOW)
Description: NOW is the largest grassroots feminist organization in
the US, with chapters in all 50 states, and is devoted to securing
full equality for women through litigation and education. Specific
goals of NOW include promoting reproductive rights, fostering the
economic empowerment of women, ending domestic violence and
discrimination, and shaping the national debate on women’s issues.

Twominds said...

She Should Run
Description: She Should Run is a national organization that works to
encourage women and girls of all backgrounds to aspire to public
leadership and run for office next to men. The organization engages
women all over the country and allows them to either nominate
themselves or another woman anonymously for an election. (I found this
to be immediately pointing to donations pages, vetting needed)

Twominds said...

The Yarn Mission
Description: While we organize around Black Liberation, we support
efforts to liberate all marginalized groups and folks at the
intersections. The Yarn Mission is organized on the values of
intersectionality and is anti-oppressive at its core. We hold that it
is essential to acknowledge that oppression creates hierarchies
according to many identities. We also recognize that all individuals
sit at the intersection of multiple identities.

Twominds said...

Movement for Black Lives
Description: In response to the sustained and increasingly visible
violence against Black communities in the U.S. and globally, a
collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of
Black people from across the country have come together with renewed
energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda.

Twominds said...

We The Protesters
Description: We, the protesters of Ferguson and beyond, in order to
fulfill the democratic promise of our union, establish true and
lasting justice, accord dignity and standing to everyone, center the
humanity of oppressed people, promote the brightest future for our
children, and secure the blessings of freedom for all black lives, do
ordain and dedicate ourselves to this movement of radical liberation.

Twominds said...

Rolling Jubilee
Description: A bailout of the people by the people. Rolling Jubilee is
a Strike Debt project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but
instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate
debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and
collective refusal. Our latest project The Debt Collective aims to
build collective power to challenge the way we finance and access
basic necessities such as housing, medical care and education. Join us
as we imagine and create a new world based on the common good, not
Wall Street profits.

Rob H, I hope some of this is useful.

This is not my effort, I gratefully used a collection gathered by others!

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Dr. Brin: as soon as I saw that claim, I immediately went to go tally.

C for confederate state, U for union state, W for western state (not admitted in 1865):

C: TX (SecState)
U: NY (SecTreas)
W: WA (SecDef)
C: AL (AttyGen)
W: MT (SecInt)
C: GA (SecAg)
C: FL (SecComm)
C: TN (SecLabor)
C: GA (SecHHS)
C: FL (SecHUD)
C: KY (SecTrans)
C: TX (SecEnergy)
U: MI (SecEd)
U: PA (SecVA)
U: MA (SecHS)

3 Westerners (states not admitted during the War)
4 Union
9 Confederate States

2016 estimates (Census Bureau):
Current population of the Confederacy: 113 million
Current population of the West: 33.5 million
Current population of the Union: 177 million
Total population of the United States: 323.5 million

Probability that a randomly chosen Cabinet member would be from:
* the Union: (177/323.5) = 54.7%
* the Confederacy: (113/323.5) = 34.9%
* the West: (33.5/323.5) = 10.3%
Probability that a randomly chosen Cabinet would contain:
4 or fewer Union denizens: CDF(binomial, 15, 0.547, 4) = 2.7%
9 or more Confederate denizens: 1 - CDF(binomial, 15, 0.349, 9) = 1.2%

Conclusion: There is a statistically significant bias against the Union and in favor of the Confederacy in choices for Cabinet members.

Further research: did previous Cabinets also have statistically significant bias?

Twominds said...

@matthew 1:43 PM

That was faster than I expected. Seems trump is doing more than twittering.

I hope the other countries will go on with TPP. Just to show that the US is not the navel of the world, and can´t just ignore the rest.

David Brin said...

Thanks Katy and welcome!

Twominds: Stephen Colbert bought a bunch of debt… or was it John Oliver? RollingJubilee sounds great.

Catfish… good analysis. But should we count Wall Street bigshots as “Union”? During the Civil War, New York City was pure Copperhead (See the flick “Gangs of New York.”) In this cabinet, I deem Rick Perry to be the token adult.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Obama's initial cabinet: 3 Westerners, 1 Confederate, 10 Unionists.
G.W. Bush's initial cabinet: 1 Westerner, 5 Confederate, 9 Unionists.
Clinton's initial cabinet: 2 Westerners, 6 Confederates, 6 Unionists.
Bush the Elder's cabinet: 3 Westerners, 4 Confederates, 7 Unionists.
Reagan's initial cabinet: 2 Westerners, 1 Confederate, 10 Unionists.
Carter's initial cabinet: 2 Westerners, 4 Confederates, 7 Unionists.
(skipping Ford as he inherited the cabinet of:)
Nixon's initial cabinet: 3 Westerners, 1 Confederate, 8 Unionists.

Before this was JFK and LBJ, and the Cabinet was a different creature with fewer members. I'm not bothering to look up the numbers, I can spitball here. Obama, Reagan, and Nixon made little attempt to include the Confederacy in their Cabinets. Clinton made a special effort to be inclusive. But no one EVER picked more Confederates than Unionists.

Something is, as they say, #NotNormal.

LarryHart said...

Hillary won the electoral college if you count the millions of legals who were denied the vote. She is the 45th President of the United States.


Ilithi Dragon said...

@Dr. Brin:

Drat, you beat me to the sub history challenge. Probably for the best. If I'd had access to the internet yesterday and been able to respond first, I'd probably have unleashed a vociferous tirade that might have been a little unbecoming.

To touch a little on the subject of the OP, there was never really much action with our subs vs the Germans in WWII. The Atlantic Theater vs the Pacific Theater was very different in its distinct lack of targets for subs, and because of the limited nature of the technology of the day, sub-vs-sub actions were few and far between. We had a few skirmishes between US subs patrolling an intermittent perimeter and German U-boats, but there were no kills or losses.

I do know that we blatantly stole a lot from the later U-boat designs (to the point of copying down to valve positions). The U-boats did have some fine engineering, partly through sheer experience (the Germans learned a lot of submarining lessons the hard way, and we shamelessly stole that experience), and partly because, as I understand it, the Kriegsmarine had managed to shield itself from Hitler's micromanaging deprivations for much of the Nazi regime (as I understand it, due in large part to the fact that they weren't particularly favored by Hitler, and so didn't get a whole lot of attention from him). On top of all of that, the nature of submarines leaves little room for error. If you try to do things in some ridiculous, bass-akwards, nonsensical manner, you very quickly lose the ship. Submarining is also an environment where the German preference for complex, precise machinery that performed well when clean, but not so well when drug through the mud, would suffer less from its disadvantages - submarines typically don't encounter a lot of mud.

That said, the Germans did tend to overcomplicate things, and they did actually lose a submarine, the U-1206, because of a new toilet design that was overly complex in operation. Captain didn't know how to operate it, ended up flooding water and sewage into the boat, which flooded the battery compartment, producing chlorine gas, forcing the boat to surface, where it was damaged by RAF aircraft, and they were forced to scuttle.

Anonymous LarryHart said...

I saw this on Twitter:

Hillary is president right now. I choose to believe this. #alternativefacts

I'm with HER. :)

I'd love to see Hillary give her own press conferences as President In Exile.

No, please don't, no. This idea is bad, because it will create a schism that will create actual conflict. I'm fairly certain that Mrs. Clinton is prescient enough to know that this is a terrible idea, but please, just to be safe, to prevent even a popular movement calling for this even without Mrs. Clinton supporting the idea, avoid all mention of it. There have been very few things that have raised the fear of an actual, for-real, modern-day US Civil War than the spike of terror that I got when reading that post. For the sake of myself and every other service member, please don't do anything to put us in that position.

On a brighter subject, the military is making forward progress in LGBT issues. Transgender people may now openly serve in the military, and are no longer allowed to be evicted from the military or discriminated against in any way based solely on their gender preferences, and the military will cover the full medical costs (including the development of treatment plans, as command mission requirements allow) of treatment for diagnosis of gender dysphoria, with full support of military doctors. Additionally, effective in July of this year, all transgender people shall be allowed to join the military openly, and will be allowed to compete on equal footing against all other applicants in their chosen gender (though there are certain requirements for minimum time after gender transition, as well as stability post-transition).

LarryHart said...

@Ilithi Dragon,

I was going more for "If they can have their alternative facts, we can have ours too."

Now, you make me ambivalent, because I presume you know what you're talking about re the particular difficulties a presidential schism would put the military in.

I ask you to consider, though, whether you won't already be in a compromising position when His Illegitimacy really does order something "unpresidented". I know the Civil War was horrible, but do you think it was a mistake to fight it? Or should we have done whatever the South demanded in order to prevent the need?

I'm also concerned that we might be approaching actual hot war between the reality-based world and #AlternativeFacts, but I can't see appeasement as the answer.

Ilithi Dragon said...


I absolutely understood what you were going for, and it did actually make me smile. I approve of the underlying sentiment, but that particular surface message is deeply disturbing, and the consequences of a popular movement centered around it (with or without Mrs. Clinton's approval) are outright terrifying, and not just because of the horrors of another Civil War. A popular movement that challenges the legitimacy of President Trump and insists that Senator Clinton is the real legitimate President of the United States would also create a deep schism in the military. That split in loyalty in the military, in our chain of command, would be disastrous.

If President Trump gives a... "unpresidented" order, that would place military personnel in a compromising position, there is "precedent" for legally being allowed, and even obligated, to refuse what could be considered an "unlawful" order. And we're rapidly approaching the limits of what I am allowed to talk about. While not clearly defined, Article 134 of the UCMJ does set hard limits on what I'm allowed to discuss publicly.

The Civil War was absolutely necessary to fight. Key point, though: The Union did not start the war. In fact, as our host is oft to remind us, the Confederacy started the war without even TRYING to negotiate with the Lincoln administration, even before Lincoln WAS SWORN IN TO OFFICE. There were no demands to concede to. The South lost the election, and almost immediately seceded and declared war.

If such a conflict ever arises again, the... for lack of a better word, "group" that would have been the Union of old, MUST NOT start that war. The Union MUST NOT do ANYTHING to PROVOKE or PROMOTE it. This is not spoken out of any sentiment of Chamberlain-esque appeasement, but out of absolute necessity for the Union to survive. The Union can survive the Trump presidency, and we can correct the flaws in our system, and the Union might be able to survive a new civil war if it is not involved in the starting of it. But the Union MUST NOT start that conflict. The Union MUST NOT be the Confederacy who declared war without even TRYING to negotiate. One of the great points of our own Revolutionary War is that it was considered as a measure of absolute LAST RESORT, and only undertaken after ALL OTHER MEANS had been thoroughly tried and exhausted, numerous times.

Ilithi Dragon said...

To put things a different way...

Democrats and liberals/progressives MUST NOT become what the Republicans/Conservatives were after President Obama was elected. By all means, challenge any illegitimacy, but do so with decorum, through the proper channels, and as ADULTS.

That's the most important part. The Democrats and liberals/progressives must behave as adults. They have to be the grown-ups. Because if they aren't, then it just legitimizes and justifies every, single, petulant, childish, immature, and ass-hatted action and behavior conducted by the Republicans and conservatives, because they'll be able to point and say, "THEY DO IT, TOO! THEY'RE JUST AS BAD! THEY'RE NO DIFFERENT THAN US! THAT MEANS WE'RE THE GOOD GUYS! WE'RE THE MATURE ONES!!!"

Don't give them that ammunition.

David Brin said...

"Bill" wrote in separately to recommend a couple of pertinent books on the subject: Trading With The Enemy
by Charles Higham

American Swastika
by Charles Higham

These two books
are based on over 40,000 FOIA Documents.

duncan cairncross said...

Hi IIithi

While I agree that Democrats must not become the GOP they do need to learn some important lessons

DO NOT put political opponents in positions of power - James Comey comes immediately to mind

DO NOT forgive and not prosecute actual criminal activity

Ilithi Dragon said...


Like I said, illegitimacy, crimes, etc., should and must be challenged, prosecuted, etc.

However, it must be done with decorum, through proper channels, as adults. Prosecution via social media won't win the Union any points in the long run.

LarryHart said...

@Ilithi Dragon,

I love you, man (in a completely masculine way, of course), and I do see what concerns you.

I agree that we'll survive this administration just as we survived Nixon, Reagan, and Bush. What I'm concerned about is how much ground we will lose in the interregnum. If the nuclear deal with Iran is scuttled and they start building nukes today, we're not going to get that time or good will back. Same if we cave into Netenyahu and remove the possibility of a two-state solution. I have a hard time even imagining what happens if we break NATO. Domestically, right-wing (not "constitutionalist") Supreme Court justices and federal judges could impede progress long after the fever breaks.

If you ever read our hosts novel "Sundiver", there's a scene in which (I think it is) the female captain speaks with the alien Bubbacub who everyone is treating like a cute teddy bear, and during the conversation, the horrifying realization strikes her that "This sophont is dangerous." That's where I was with the Republican nominee after the primaries, and I've seen nothing to dissuade me of that since.

Back to the main issue, though. We've discussed the coming new civil war, and how the lines aren't really North vs South but urban vs rural. Well, I'm starting to see it as worse than that: the division is lining up between those who recognize actual facts and physical laws vs those to whom #AlternativeFacts are acceptable. And as I said earlier today, the point of asserting lies is not to get people to believe those lies, but to cause people to take sides--you're with the liar or you're not, and if you don't line up with him blindly, even because what he's saying is demonstratively false, then you're an enemy.

Is it "shooting first" to assert that reality is reality? To me, they're already shooting at us by an official policy of lying and of attacking the press. I'll agree we shouldn't make up our own s### to counter theirs, but then how do we counter theirs?

LarryHart said...

@Ilithi Dragon:

However, it must be done with decorum, through proper channels, as adults. Prosecution via social media won't win the Union any points in the long run

The trouble with that is that Trump has already provided a living counterexample. He threw decorum and proper channels out the window and campaigned via social media, and now he gets to say "I won!"

If you want to prevent cheating in a game, you have to somehow sanction the cheaters so that cheating is not a winning strategy. If a cheater is allowed to cheat, and you expect that by yourself playing by the rules, you will somehow beat him fair and square--I haven't seen that life works that way.

So again, the administration already uses social media to promote its lies and has the force of government and thugs to intimidate and threaten anyone--especially the fourth estate--who calls them on their falsehoods. We, the reality-based, have no power in congress or in most of the states, and are about to lose the Supreme Court for a generation. What channels are left open for self-defense?

Ilithi Dragon said...


I appreciate the sentiment, and know what you mean. I love this community, and most of the people in it.

I totally understand your concerns, and I share them, I really do, but I'm limited in both WHAT I can say, and HOW I can say it, because while the things I say on the internet aren't necessarily actively or even passively monitored, anything I say can potentially come back to bite me in the ass (which is always unpleasant, scales or no).

Social and cultural setbacks, even economic collapse, would also be far better than the alternative discussed above.

I totally agree that a lot of the lines being drawn are between those who can better discern false information and those who can't. Much of what we're fighting are age-old strategies used to whip misinformed people into aggressively championing causes, policies, and/or actions that are against their best interests, tactics and strategies that have been used time and again for a very long time. Perhaps, in hindsight, if we had pushed harder in the years leading up to now for better teaching of critical thinking skills, in schools, universities, and on the job, we might have been able to avoid this mess, but that's hindsight for you, and I'm not sure how that would have worked, regardless.

Ultimately, I don't have a good answer for how to contend with this mess. I don't know what to do. I haven't figured that one out, yet.

Anonymous said...

David, I'd also recommend IBM and the Holocaust by Edwin Black. An interesting look at a hidden episode in history.

(And chilling, too. Those numbers tattooed on arms? Each matched a Hollerith card used to track the prisoner through the system. Said cards being supplied by IBM…)

LarryHart said...

@Ilithi Dragon,

I'm not trying to get you into trouble. In fact, I'd like to assume that the military is quietly planning for contingencies to defend the country against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Some on this blog have suggested that elections will be suspended in 2018 or 2020. I don't believe that myself, but then I didn't believe that the election would go the way it did, and some of the ones suggesting this eventuality did accurately predict the election, so I can't dismiss them outright. So here are some questions, which can be rhetorical if you don't think you may respond within protocol,but I want the questions out there:

If elections were suspended in a partisan power grab, then would it be acceptable for the Union to consider the officeholders to be illegitimate?

If the 2016 election was won only through voter suppression and fake news, then aren't we already in essentially that situation already?

Social and cultural setbacks, even economic collapse, would also be far better than the alternative discussed above.

Since the bad guys are adept at hostage taking and we are not, nor should we be, does that mean the bad guys win?

Ilithi Dragon said...


The good news is that the bad guys are losing. 100 years ago, nobody would have batted an eye at the nature of this election.

I'd reply more, but I'm tired, and have to be up extra early tomorrow.

Paul SB said...


Larry, if the division in the new civil war is between those who believe facts and those who believe BS, how would that play out in terms of warfare? That is, how does anyone know who is on who's side? It isn't exactly racial, so skin tone won't tell you, it isn't quite entirely gendered (that would be quite the kettle of worms if it was), it isn't entirely regional, so point of origin won't do it either. Wars tend to center around geography, even when they are "really" about religion, or ethnicity or some other identity. But I could see this as a cyberwar, in which geography is irrelevant, but information - like who is on your side vs. who has been seen at rallies for the enemy - is king. Maybe more a war of sabotage, secret police and the disappeared, by the millions. Even your internet search history could make you the target of a secret death squad. But not the kind of conventional warfare that has been around for millennia.

TCB said...

LarryHart said:

"If you want to prevent cheating in a game, you have to somehow sanction the cheaters so that cheating is not a winning strategy. If a cheater is allowed to cheat, and you expect that by yourself playing by the rules, you will somehow beat him fair and square--I haven't seen that life works that way."

It took me a minute to find it, but this is of interest: Game Theory's Cure for Corruption: Make Us All Cops.

"Our tendency towards righteousness might be triggered when we feel equal to our potentially righteous compatriots; and the more secure we feel in our power over them, the more we switch to corruption. Can we use social engineering to manipulate this switch? The model suggests that we can. If we decrease power inequalities, increase punishments and reward punishers, in theory that should trigger a societal transition to righteousness."

"Here’s how it might look in practice. Imagine a city where police commit blatant traffic violations and never ticket one another. The authorities could decrease power inequalities by developing an online system in which all citizens are able to anonymously report dangerous drivers. Anyone who received too many independent reports would be investigated – police included. This sounds almost laughably simple, and yet the model indicates that it ought to do the trick. It is, after all, essentially the same system used by many online communities."

So extreme wealth and power imbalances make for a more corrupt society... indeed, an absolute monarchy is the essence of corruption, because it means a nation is considered the chattel property of the monarch, heritable by the monarch's heirs. If a grocer bribes a cop in an absolute monarchy, it is merely an internal rearrangement within the monarch's property.

Tangentially related:

I'm of the opinion that "Two wrongs don't make a right" is a poor argument for disarming oneself in the face of a thuggish foe. If you never retaliate, he will tend to provide the second wrong as well as the first.

Similarly, "We can't do X because then we'd be sinking to their level" can be a bad argument. "Oh! The enemy is shelling our people with howitzers! We can't use howitzers too, or we'd be sinking to their level!"

We may nevertheless find that some tactics are truly beneath us, or abjure them because they just don't work as advertised.

One tactic I have often heard criticized is jury nullification. "Yes, the law technically permits a juror to vote not guilty even "in the teeth of the facts" simply because we feel the law is wrong. But Bad People use nullification for Bad Things!" Things like letting racist killers walk free...

But nullification is like a howitzer. Maybe someday you will need to shoot back.

Suppose the Republicans pass harsher laws against protest, which they have already spoken of doing. Calling it 'economic terrorism' and making it a felony. Which would then provide a neat way of taking the vote away from opponents. How would you fight that?

Answer: clog the system with defendants who won't take a plea bargain, demanding jury trials. And nullify those charges at every opportunity.

Paul451 said...

Re: Naming the thing.

Since last year, I've increasingly disliked the cutesy-clever hate-names for Trump and his supporters. ("Drumpf" always made me cringe. "Yes you heard it on that popular show. It was original on that one show.") But Jim Wright said it better: Be the kind of people you want to be, not like the kind of people you oppose. Or as Ilithi said, we have to be the grown ups. It's interesting how those same rules-of-conduct apply more generally too.

(That said, I did notice an unintentional one that amused me: Someone on this site (I think it was PaulSB) was referring to Trump supporters as "Trumpers" and his spellcheck turned it into "Trumpets". Don't think anyone else noticed.)

Re: Uncivil war.
"how would that play out in terms of warfare?"

Look at how Russia is waging war against the west.

Paul451 said...

Speaking of Ilithi, I believe this is his concern:

"UCMJ: Paragraph 72. Article 134—(Disloyal statements)

a. Text of statute. See paragraph 60. (All disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.)

b. Elements.
(1) That the accused made a certain statement;
(2) That the statement was communicated to another person;
(3) That the statement was disloyal to the United States;
(4) That the statement was made with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection toward the United States by any member of the armed forces or to interfere with or impair the loyalty to the United States or good order and discipline of any member of the armed forces; and
(5) That, under the circumstances, the conduct of the accused was to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces or was of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces.

c. Explanation. Certain disloyal statements by military personnel may not constitute an offense under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2385, 2387, and 2388, but may, under the circumstances, be punishable under this article. Examples include praising the enemy, attacking the war aims of the United States, or denouncing our form of government with the intent to promote disloyalty or disaffection among members of the armed services.
A declaration of personal belief can amount to a disloyal statement if it disavows allegiance owed to the United States by the declarant. The disloyalty involved for this offense must be to the United States as a political entity and not merely to a department or other agency that is a part of its administration."

Acacia H. said...

Larry, I'm actually not much into comic books. Webcomics, yes, but I've not read a comic book in years.

Though I will admit the current DC Comics storyline with Superman from the 90s, who is married to Lois Lane and has a 10-year-old son, has intrigued me. Apparently they somehow ended up in the new universe and only came out of hiding when the Superman of the current DC Universe died. And they're apparently having the Big Bad be Dr. Manhattan from The Watchmen series. Interesting concept.

Twominds, thank you for all the links. I'll have to try to remember those and post them on Facebook at a later time. The information needs to get out there. :)

Rob H., who's been using his critiquing skills lately on the web-series RWBY

Slim Moldie said...

On the Saturday marches, did anyone else catch the “so bad even the introverts are here” sign? So true. Made me laugh almost as much as imagining “Propaganda Barbie” showing up to 1600 Pennsylvania in her pink corvette.

The David Brooks "yes this is bad, but chaos is worse so stick to the norms and go for the high road" sort of argument that I read in my Sunday paper doesn’t sit well with me at an emotional level because it perhaps unintentionally frames the executive office as a marriage and we the people as the reluctant bride. I understand the intent but it comes off like a honey-voiced pastor advising a troubled woman to go back to her abusive husband for the good of their children. Yuck

Did anyone else catch the last part of This American Life episode 608. In Act Six, "Change In the Office Climate" they examine the conundrum facing bureaucrat social servants. Do you quit, or stay on and fight—which might mean doing your “job” poorly, withholding information, making things slow, losing things etc. It made me wonder how I would act in those circumstances.

Really appreciate reading what people have to say here in these troubling times. I was socking money away to do some maintenance work on the house, but in the face of the shit storm Tsunami of alt facts coming at us--I’m thinking maybe it’s time to order the Tsunami Survival Capsule one of my buddies from Oregon told me about. Like Noah I will order my arc and meditate with Abba’s greatest hits on shuffle repeat until the waters recede and everything is sane. It will be just like Farnham’s Freehold except with decorative Ikea elements. Continuing on the divergent but now serious note...a question for you coastal folk to ponder. What do you think is the best Tsunami safety measure, given that people are going to build in danger zones? I pissed my wife off a few years ago driving through coastal Organ trying to convince her that the solution would be to harness evacuees to giant dirigibles, and I think she shot me down before I could get into the logistics and calculations. Running a mile to high ground in the middle of the night with a small child slung over my shoulder doesn’t seem like the best way to go. The open pedestrian parking garage structure seems like a better answer to me than the survival capsule.

Still processing what's going on and how to proceed. Intuition based on reading this blog among other things suggests Dr. Brin's transparency and wagering might be topics worth revisiting as a means of resistance.

Slim Moldie said...

Just to clarify. By "Coastal Organ" I was of course referring to the incident in which my wife and I were miniaturized and drove our automobile through a giant pipe organ during an E. Power Biggs recital in southern France :)

LarryHart said...

Ilithi Dragon:

I'd reply more, but I'm tired, and have to be up extra early tomorrow.

Be safe and be well.

I don't think I'm arguing against you or even really taking an adversarial position. More like fine-tuning. But I'm interested in continuing when possible.

Just to re-iterate, while I had the opposite reaction to yours from the tweet I saw about treating HRC as the winner I was not the initiator of that tweet, and my purpose for "re-tweeting" it here was not so much "Yeah, let's do this" as "If we're playing the #AlternativeFacts game, I'll see your crowd size and raise you President Hillary!" The point wasn't to install HRC but to shut down the #AlternativeFacts game in the only way that ever gets Republicans on board against cheating--showing that the other side can do it too.

I understand your concern about getting into unprecedented (I won't use the other spelling here) territory, but restate my caution that every step along the way in this election has already been unprecedented. Business as usual is not an option any more. I don't mean that as a slogan but as a dispassionate statement of the way things are--that keeping your head down and just going along is no more a guarantee of safety than is rocking the boat.

LarryHart said...


Larry, I'm actually not much into comic books. Webcomics, yes, but I've not read a comic book in years.

I said you spoke the language of comic books.

Myself, I'm pretty much weaned off of Marvel and DC themselves. I'm more into the extended novel series like "Saga" (suggested by someone here) or "Hellboy" which is giving "Cerebus" a run for its longevity.

I think you already said you didn't get into "The Dreamer", but that's also one of my current favorites, and I read it before I was into "Hamilton". And it is a webcomic which is then collected into trade paperbacks.

Though I will admit the current DC Comics storyline with Superman from the 90s, who is married to Lois Lane and has a 10-year-old son, has intrigued me.

See, you're actually more up on your mainstream titles than I am. I gave up on Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman comics as unrecognizable a long time ago. I do occasionally pick up an issue of "Batman `66", which tries to do the Adam West Batman in comics form.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

Larry, if the division in the new civil war is between those who believe facts and those who believe BS, how would that play out in terms of warfare?

That's one of the traditional arguments as to why Reality is better than #AlternativeFacts . Because you want your weapons and tactics to actually work in a war.

But I don't see the current "warfare" as an actual shooting war. It's being fought in legislatures and courts. So the questions of who goes along with you and what power they have to affect the world around you plays the pivotal role.

LarryHart said...

I leave y'all for the morning with a thought that I think I mentioned yesterday but might have got lost in the ensuing conversation about military codes and decorum.

People who rally behind an obvious liar (calling a donkey a horse) are not doing so because they believe his utterances to be true. They're doing so as an expression of allegiance to the liar, even to the point of declaring reality to be an enemy for disagreeing. And that is not something people do unless they are desperate. Reality--the world the way it is--has let these people down. They feel no personal reason to recognize objective reality. If they incur the favor of the leader, they hope he will improve their lives. They've already given up on reality doing so.

They voted to repeal reality and replace it with something great.

I understand the allure, and even succumb to it myself at a very low level. For instance, when I start looking for "solutions" to the election from kids' cartoons, such as pretending to wake up and shouting "So, it was all a dream!" I'm not doing so because I really think it will work. It's just that that option is the most appealing of all available to me. To many disaffected voters, Trump was the option that was most appealing of all available in the same sense.

I find it somewhat ironic that many of these people who were let down by reality were in fact let down by the social reality born of Republican policies (and yes, Democrats who bought into Republican policies), and now seem to think that Republicans will fix things. But in order to win those people back to the side of reality, Democrats* must do more than blame Republicans. They must offer a vision of reality that really is good for the citizens, and a blueprint for achieving it. Reality must be made to seem beneficial again, or at least potentially-beneficial.

* By "Democrats", I mean the only currently-extant force in opposition to Republicans. I don't mean to imply that the real-life Democratic Party always lives up to my ideal. I mean they're (currently) the only ones who have a chance of doing so.

A.F. Rey said...

I'll agree we shouldn't make up our own s### to counter theirs, but then how do we counter theirs?

It occurred to me that the way may be to use their own s### against them.

When Trump says that 3 million illegals voted in the last election, tell them it doesn't matter because a majority of them voted for Trump. :) If he asks where we got the information, just say it was from the same source that he did. Or that it is common sense. Or that you "heard it on the internet." Or all the other lame excuses they use.

When they make up stuff, make up stuff about their stuff. Be truthful about our stuff, but for their stuff, let you imagination run wild. Without facts to back up their claims, there is no way they can disprove any claim you make.

As we learned in elementary school, the first liar doesn't stand a chance. :)

raito said...

A big pile of unconnected stuff today:

In order to not lose posts, I often compose them in a text editor outside the browser. This also allows me to respond to various comments without having to constantly go to the bottom of the page. If the post gets lost, I can repost in its entirety.

Reported numbers marching in Madison were 75 to 100K.

Way back when, I read that part of the reason American troops did very well in WWII was because of their age. One report was that the average age of the US soldier was 26. Most of those guys at that time had probably been living an adult life for close to a decade. That led in a couple directions. They were used to fixing things. And they knew stupid orders when they got them. Not that they'd necessarily ignore them, but it was probably more like the grizzled sergeant telling the Lt. that there was a better way.

The Germans did have a competent general, though recent searching seems to have changed the opinion on him since I first studied WWII in the 70's. That would be Rommel. At least no one seems to question that he came much more from the Prussian tradition than the Nazi one in his work.

It's really no accident that the last 3 films reviewed by my favorite reviewer are A Face In The Crowd, The Manchurian Candidate, and Seven Days In May. Heck, even the webcomics are getting into it. Look at the recent strips at Sinfest and PVP, for example.

I find myself rather liking some of Amazon's new TV commercials. For those who haven't sen them, the theme is people buying gifts for other people that actually help them. Sure beat most advertising.

I do wonder whether the infowar tactics from The Last Centurion bear re-examination (regardless of my previous comments on the accuracy of recorded media).

Alternative facts? How much more Newspeak can you get than that? It would seem that science is the answer here. If 2 things are actually true, and they contradict, and they are both correct, then to reconcile them a different point of view is required. This is different than something presented as fact that later turns out to not be true. That's either a lie or incompetence. (Note: I've been incompetent on many occasions)

Zepp Jamieson said...

AF Ray:
I'll admit I grinned broadly when I saw your comment about using their own shit against them but the fact is we would be making up our own shit. Leave that to Jon Stewart and Andy Borowitz.
One excellent way of dealing with people who say preposterous things to advance their cause is excessive credulity. "Three million voted illegally? That's horrible! We must set up task force to report in three months who these people where and what was done to punish them! Act now, Mister President.
I, for one, plan to honour next year's Day of Patriotic Devotion by using a flag as a prayer mat and prostrating myself in the direction of Trump Tower.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

I understand there's a tightrope to walk, but I see a difference between "making up s###" as litmus tests for our own side vs. "making up s###" in order to emphasize that that's what the other side is doing. As Dave Sim once put it, "Sometimes jumping on the bandwagon is the best way to demonstrate that the wheels have fallen off."

To me, it's the difference between hitting first vs hitting back. D-Day did not make the allies "as bad as Hitler" just because he also invaded countries.

@Everyone who doesn't like cute nicknames for His Illegitimacy,

For most of my life I would have agreed with you, and I ask you to understand how forcefully I believe that the current occupant of the White House has been installed contrary to good form. This is not just a matter of not liking the man or the party in power. Now, I almost never swear, either in person or online, but every once in awhile, nothing will do but a well-placed "fuck!", and I hope that when I feel pushed to do that, the fact that I do so stands out in stark contrast to the normal and adds urgent emphasis that would not be there were I to throw f-bombs around regularly. That's where I am now with the results of the rigged election. I will not recognize that man as being owed the respect of the office, and hope that the fact that I say that stands out in contrast to normal behavior.

Thus, the only time I will ever utter those three words in that order are when I'm imitating the King George character from "Hamilton" snarking at John Adams:

"President Donald Trump"??
Good luck.

Aside from that, I need to resort to other designations.

Zepp Jamieson said...

@Larry Hart
" I will not recognize that man as being owed the respect of the office..."
About the only time that phrase gets used is when a demand is being made to celebrate incompetence, viciousness, or in this case, both. I'm with you.

Fighting back: absolutly. Adopting their worst tactics, not so much. Defeating Hitler by invading France is one thing. Fighting him by throwing "undesirables" in work camps would be quite another. Use his tactics against him but don't adopt those tactics. Am I being clear?

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Yes, you are, and I don't disagree.

As Captain America put it toward the start of WWII, "Let's be sure we're still the good guys when we win."

David Brin said...

RobH, do they deal with how Lois survives both a superstrong husband and a kicking, superstrong fetus and baby and toddler?

SlimM, so you’ve got possible Tsunamis. OTOH Oregon is way above average for most other doom scenarios. Why do you think I set the Postman there?

now onward


Unknown said... they deal with how Lois survives both a superstrong husband and a kicking, superstrong fetus and baby and toddler?

It's been established that Kal-El can maintain tight control over his physical strength even under reflex (else figuring out his "secret identity" would be simplicity itself, as he'd leave his fingerprints in all those cars and buildings and things he's always hefting). And young Jonathan Kent's strength didn't develop until much later - it's also established that Kryptonians don't develop superpowers until they've been exposed to G-class starlight for years. (Yes, that means we have to throw all those '50s-era tales of Superbaby out of the canon, more's the pity...)

On the other hand, he's now working (occasionally) alongside his father, wearing a commercially-available Superman hoodie. :-)

Dwight Williams said...

Zepp: As much as I enjoy the possibility of an expanded Canada, I'm not sure how we'd survive to make it happen were we invaded first. Maybe you should talk to Madeline Ashby about this. Here's the opinion piece from her that's been plaguing my thoughts for the past few months:

We can find a way to further discuss this elsewhere, I'm sure, unless our host deems it worth pursuing...?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Dwight Williams: " Maybe you should talk to Madeline Ashby about this. Here's the opinion piece from her that's been plaguing my thoughts for the past few months: "

Unfortunately we've been onwarded, but you and Madeline have brought up something every Canadian thinks about from time to time, and which is a bit more palpable with a violent narcissistic lunatic in the White House.

I think Canada would be a bit like Russia, or Afghanistan. Easy to invade, impossible to hold on to.

David Brin said...

Any Canadian who worries about the US Army has never spoken to a US military officer. If Trump ordered them across the border, they'd bring cake and get "lost."



Anonymous said...

There's another American Swastika (by Simi and Futrell) about the modern neo-Nazi movement that's also quite good.

Ken Fabian said...

Mostly agree. A small point - The number of people living in extreme poverty is now "only" on a par with the entire human population at the start of the industrial era, down from something like double that. Should poverty rates be on the basis of proportion or on the basis of total numbers? The latter measure is certainly far less flattering to our pride in that progress although the convention appears to be to look at proportions, yet I wonder if a hypothetical loving god might see it differently.

There also remain questions about the sustainability of that progress and whether overshooting what is sustainable - or using measures that don't include externalised, accumulating and irreversable consequences of the means to achieve reduced poverty - should be in the credit column for progress. Note that I am not wishing the industrial revolution and technological progress did not occur or don't understand that further progress is the only viable means to ultimately bring gross as well as net human poverty down but I do think "gloom", when soundly based, is an essential ingredient for appropriate progress. Conversely, optimism that rejects or glosses over legitmate concerns - eg by legislation, executive order and the persistenc of a compliant mainstream media, climate concerns are no longer a thing - looks like a recipe for anti-progress.

Off topic but I read your neotony and two way sexual selection article and wanted to make a comment - just wondering where would be most appropriate?

Anonymous said...

One of the big problems with Nazi Germany was the officers stopped making decisions without Hitlers approval. Hitler (and other top Nazis) wanted to have so much power they screwed themselves. When things went wrong, those on the ground had no opportunity to get in touch with anyone before it all turned to crap for them. D-Day was a good example, they didn't bring up the armoured division because nobody would wake up Hitler, and the officer in charge was away for his wifes anniversary (or birthday?).
Hitler thought he was smarter than everyone else. Remind you of anyone in particular?

American forces used amphetamines too, in later wars. I don't think for 10 days straight, non stop. That would be crazy.

If the US wanted to invade Canada, all they would have to do is have lots and lots of Americans walk across the border as tourists, the sheer numbers would overwhelm us.
The US doesn't need to invade, we do 75% of our trade with the USA and are subject to trade agreement and other pressures because of that.
Trade wars and retaliations are some of the reasons given why marijuana was never decriminalized, even though one Canadian government promised to do so. The then US government made trade threats. We may see that again in the very near future.

Most of Canada's (few) major corporations are either US subsidiaries, or largely owned by Americans through Canadian and American stock markets. Canada and the US have become largely so intertwined economically they are largely a single economic entity.