Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Trump's Divided America

This  reporter tried hard, for a week to live life with no reference to the President (read Farhad Manjoo in The NY Times).  But this mother of storms exceeds any combination of known attention storms. Sci fi offers a simple explanation.  He is an attention vampire. However many hate him... however little he actually accomplishes... an attention vampire will flourish as ever-more humans look at him, feel emotions about him, say his name.

== Crit that added weight to the other side ==

Hillary Clinton thought that the things that 55% of Americans and all the smart people found deeply offensive would pile up on scales against Donald Trump.  What could not enter her mind or other Democratic leaders was how many American saw Donald Trump's outlandishness not as a bug, but as a feature. The fact that all the smart folks were offended is what turned every outrageous Trumpism into a point added to his side. Indeed, they wound up being the only things necessary. The angrier and more upset we got, the better the reflexive response from what can only be called the Confederacy.

No other theory can explain why fundamentalist Christians rallied behind the most unchristian and most opposite-to-Jesus candidate ever to run for high office in the United States.  None of those traits mattered! Not so long as he satisfied the one great, rallying criterion: "Trump hates the same wiseguy nerds and lectury chiders I hate!" A shared enemy is all it sometimes takes. Indeed, it is the only diagnosis and explanation that correlates, across the board.

Anyone who thinks it was a decline in white middle class incomes has paid no attention to statistics or studies showing that many Trump supporters are doing just fine and - in fact - have done vastly better across the spans of Democratic administrations than Republican ones.   

So let’s get back to those post-mortems of why so many of our fellow Americans feel such rage at all their smart or professional neighbors.

== Some of it may be simple ==

Aiming to understand what drives white-rural or white working class political fixation must include some understanding of pain. Not so much financial or social, but physical. Pain of the organic-body kind. So writes Vinnie Rotondaro, in The science of white working class pain on Salon. And at one level or another, this should be considered. 

The underlying tensions, urban vs rural, liberal vs conservative, are covered in the Associated Press release: Divided America: The Fracturing of a Nation.

Sarah Pulliam Bailey, in the WaPost, talks of how nostalgia for white Christian America drove so many Americans to vote for Trump

“In Andy Griffith’s rural North Carolina home town, people wish life were more like the Mayberry of TV… Seventy-four percent of white evangelicals believe American culture has mostly changed for the worse since the 1950s — more than any other group of Americans — compared with 56 percent of all whites, according to a 2016 survey by the Public Religion Research Institute. In sharp contrast, 62 percent of African Americans and 57 percent of Hispanic Americans think the culture has changed for the better, the survey said.  With his promise to “Make America Great Again,” Trump appealed directly to this sense of dispossession, and 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him, according to exit polls.”

Recall last time how I referred to George Lakoff’s advice – ignored by the snooty Democratic Establishment – to pay heed to the “strong father” reflex that underlies so many of those who are rejecting the western enlightenment’s emphasis on a nurturing civilization.

== Oh, but there are other monsters ==

What stunning hypocrisy – one among hundreds – that the Republicans, having blocked for 8 years an infrastructure bill that would have stimulated economic growth, now, suddenly, are abandoning their commitment to fiscal responsibility and embracing this Keynsian notion. 

Why? Because they know it would work. They always knew infrastructure spending would work, which is why they did not want it happening during a democratic administration.

Is climate denialism a “pillar” of conservatism? It would seem so. And every day you wonder when the crazy will reach limits. Example. The polar vortex is slipping south again as our climate changes. Record cold will strike middle America, even as the Arctic thaws, under unprecedented high temperatures, without sunlight. If you are curious and sapient, read this informative article. If not? If you are a member of the hate-science cult? Welcome to the world you helped create.

No, everyone has it backwards.  They are not attacking science (and every other knowledge/fact profession) in order to undermine action on climate change. Rather, they have spread and pushed climate denialism as a cudgel for their main pillar and agenda: attacking science. And every other knowledge/fact profession that might dare to question a feudal oligarchic putsch.

Representative Mick Mulvaney, who was recently selected as the Trump administration's nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, posted “Do we really need government-funded research at all?” Yep, the one thing that doubled all U.S. productivity since World War II. Heck, the thing that enabled us to win World War II. We do not know the balance yet between the two traits most telling for Trump appointees. But those two chief traits are becoming clear. 

So… what’s gonna happen? Singer/thinker/SciFi reader Janis Ian suggests that Trump and Putin will join forces against China.  A tasty story… and unlikely, I think.  I doubt very much that the oligarchy wants anything like the super recession that a major tiff with China would cause. Though they do know they need something symbolic for the rallies.

I do expect some Potemkin "trade War" in which some tits for tat will be traded in pre-arranged ways that make both countries leaders look tough to the home audience. It will be tightly choreographed.  Those who dream of a Russo-U.S. coalition against China are dreaming.  Indeed, Putin is probably selling off Siberia as we speak.  We, too, will be sold. Alack.

AM I saying there won't be hot war? Are you kidding? Republican presidents always do war, big time. Democrats too, only their doctrine is to go surgical, as Clinton did in Bosnia. Republicans like pushing whole divisions around, and to hell with the cost.  Hence, I would put money on some scheme - some Gulf of Tonkin provocation - that triggers some shooting between the US and Iran. It would serve the needs of both Trump and the Iranian Mullahs, and especially Vladimir Putin. Heck, even the Saudis would foolishly want it. Though our own military wants anything but!

Highly apropos of which:  Day of the Oprichnik is a 2006 novel by the Russian writer Vladimir Sorokin. The narrative is set in the near future, when the Russian Empire has been restored, and follows a government henchman, an oprichnik, through a day of grotesque events. Notably, it foresaw a future when Russia’s only income would come from selling off natural resources including – piecemeal to China – most of Siberia. 

== AmericanNewsX ==

I sometimes cross-post to this brash site. And on occasion they get a bit melodramatic for my taste.  Still, their eagerness to fight back is evident and approval-worthy. For example:

  


And video shows a right wing provocateur with Breitbart connections as she tries to manipulate a liberal group into accepting bribes for acts of violence and disruption. Maass has previously been caught trying to infiltrate three liberal campaigns; those of Russ Feingold, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton.  Memorize that face. Next time, do a reverse sting.

== Oh, lest we forget ==

Just in case you imagine I have forgotten the loony left, here’s an example of why that direction remains a very real (albeit much smaller and less immediately lethal than the mad right) danger to our enlightenment civilization. Are STEM Syllabi gendered? The syllabi for college-level STEM courses—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—are "gendered" because they promote the idea that knowledge can be ascertained through reason. This is a masculine concept that hurts women's feelings and makes it difficult for them to succeed…. that certain stylistic choices—command words like "will" and "must"—are inherently masculine and anti-woman, and then sets out to determine whether these words show up in STEM syllabi.”

Mind you, these indirect quotations of "Are STEM Syllabi Gendered? A Feminist Critical Discourse Analysis" are taken from an article in REASON, a libertarian journal, sure to take a mocking response.  Still, this is exactly the sort of thing that is used by Hannity & company a bludgeons to imply that “both sides are just as subjectively biased” (i.e. crazy). 

No, they are not equivalent. The FAR left CONTAINS some dogmatic crazies. Your ENTIRE American right CONSISTS of such.

There is a difference between FAR and ENTIRE.  As there is between CONTAINS and CONSISTS.

124 comments:

SapphireHarp said...

Dr. Brin said, "Anyone who thinks it was a decline in white middle class incomes has paid no attention to statistics or studies showing that many Trump supporters are doing just fine..."

I'd like to see the statistics or studies you had in mind specifically supporting this. Or, were you speaking more generally about the country?

Douglas said...

"No other theory can explain why fundamentalist Christians rallied behind the most unchristian and most opposite-to-Jesus candidate ever to run for high office in the United States." I'm not a Christian, so I'm just guessing here, but I think you have it wrong. From what I've read, fundamentalist Christians viewed the election as a choice between one party that despises and looks down on them and is hell bent on restricting their religious freedoms in order to pander to the LGBT community, versus a very un-Christian candidate who respects them and in any event won't force them to violate their own beliefs. I think that Christians thought things could get much worse than they were under Obama (where bakers and photographers are conscripted into celebrating acts they find religiously objectionable), and they feared, not without cause, that the logical progression of the Democratic agenda would be to eliminate tax deductions for churches that won't solemnize gay marriages, etc. So even though Trump is not a believing Christian, and even though he's always been friendly to gays, he was viewed as a lot less threatening than Clinton.

Mark said...

"I think that Christians thought things could get much worse than they were under Obama (where bakers and photographers are conscripted into celebrating acts they find religiously objectionable), and they feared, not without cause, that the logical progression of the Democratic agenda would be to eliminate tax deductions for churches that won't solemnize gay marriages, etc."

So you're not a Christian, but you buy into that fictional, fundamentalist radical perspective?

Jumper said...

How many soldiers in China's army? I rest my case. Also, when China wants siberian resources, doubtless they'll just bribe/buy them. There's no need to plant a Chinese flag.

Ever wonder how the meth and opioid epidemics in rural USA tie in to this nihilistic outbreak of insanity? To a non-zero extent, I'd guess. I saw a guy once alternating between hits from a pipeful of crack and ranting about his strong commitment to Jesus. You don't forget stuff like that.

David Brin said...

However they rationalize their treason, it is still treason. They concocted hysterically halllucinatory slanders toward Obama that ranged all the way to baby-eating, and not one thing came true or was even on any objective radar screen. I do not have to cotton to orsympathize with the screeches of outright traitors. So bakers must serve gays? Seriously? In the history of the world, THAT is sufficient cause to hate everythging - every single thing n-n that the Greatest Generation built?

They are not Christians. Those who have gone that way are monstrous

Dwight Williams said...

In any case, some sizable faction of his supporters must've fumed over the NASA presser re: TRAPPIST-1 today...

Zepp Jamieson said...

Nate Silver's good for that, Sapphire Harp. https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/
Unfortunately, the low-income workers who lost ground since 1978 were persuaded that the Democrats had no serious intent to address their problems (and the Dems are largely responsible for that) and either voted Trump, or worse, didn't vote at all.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Facepalm. I just heard some glitterbrain on ABC news breathlessly tell the pipples that Trappist-1 is forty MILLION light years away.
OK, he only missed by six decimal points...

Sojka's Call said...

The insulting of both left and right that has been the predominate tact for the last few months shows that you have run out of ideas that will work. The insults are what create the divide and you seem almost to relish a civil war to be proven "correct". Hopefully I am wrong but that is the logical conclusion after reading all your posts during the runup to the election and since.

I was hoping you of all people could detach to find a way through this morass. The explanations of society the last few months have become polarized and simplistic. Reading these posts just give me a vision of someone banging their head into a wall.

Try understanding the great divide in this country using integral theory (Ken Wilber/Clare Graves). It might even give you some ideas for future sci-fi stories. You are too smart to stay trapped in this dystopia being painted over and over.

raito said...

SapphireHarp,

I'd thought it was the case, too, until I started digging. In particular, I looked at Wisconsin's (because I live there) unemployment rates. They're fairly even across the state, which has a distinct political divide between urban and rural areas. There was no perceivable correlation between unemployment levels and which presidential candidate was voted for. Indeed, the county with the worst unemployment was one that was most for Clinton, as were a couple only a little worse off than most others.

And I guess we'll see how effective I can be locally. I started trying to get people to email or call to block the sale of the local municipal fiber to a provider that wasn't interested in building it themselves. We'll see how it goes. Unfortunately, like nearly all politics, the deal was written in the back room before the public got to hear about it. The local utilities commission's web page says they meet every month. But the last agenda posted there is for Aug. 2016. So if they ever discussed this since then, there was no external clue.

David Brin said...

Sojka we are long past listening to blandishments to be "balanced and reasonable " when every single year of the last 25 we have put out our hands in offers of negotiation and had it bitten off. Steve Bannon OPENLY calls for destruction of every single aspect of the western enlightenment. You do not fool us for a moment, troll.

Sojka's Call said...

not even when I have provided reference material for you. Well, though I agree with your positions, I don't agree with you tactics to get there and can say they will only lead to more division. It seems you want a fight so go for it. I don't need to be a target of your insults so am going to go back to being a lurker or turn you off for a while. You are stuck.

"And finally, when there are no binding guidelines for individual behavior, the individual has only his or her own self-promoting wants and desires to answer to—in short, narcissism. And that is why the most influential postmodern elites ended up embracing, explicitly or implicitly, that tag-team from postmodern hell: nihilism and narcissism—in short, aperspectival madness. The culture of post-truth. "
- Ken Wilber

David Brin said...

Sojka normally, I would take you at your word and apologize for over-reaction. Not in this case. Nearly all of my 3rd and 4th and 5th cousins died because Lindbergh and Ford and others urged us to keep reaching out and negotiating with utter monsters who had openly declared their intentions.

There were those who said it while Nazi tanks were rolling into Warsaw, after having shrugged off the Rhineland, then Austria, then Czheckoslovakia... There comes a time when "fool me once, shame on you... fool me a thousand times and now I am done talking to you" is the right response.

If you had your way, Lincoln would have gone hat in hand to every slave state promising to leave that foul horror completely alone and give them northern women, if they'd just put off secession a bit.

No. Enough. I take them at their word. The want to end the enlightenment experiment and restore feudalism. And it will be over my dead body. And yes, there are boiler rooms filled with paid shills whose job it is to go all over the web, urging "it's up to us reasonable ones to offer negotiations again!"

No. Just no. If just 3 million quasi sane conservatives admit their movement has gone mad, then both America and conservatism might be rescued. As is? It is a fight to the death between the two.

Jumper said...

I read most of that analysis of syllabi. As a study of a rather obscure subject in general communication, it is not completely useless. Basically it's a term paper, I'd say. It does contain, and is marred by, some straw-man-type thinking due to sexual ("gender") bias by the author. I wonder about the author's general idea that purpose or intent is a "gender bias." Then again, Moby Dick had Ahab.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Sojka normally, I would take you at your word and apologize for over-reaction. Not in this case. Nearly all of my 3rd and 4th and 5th cousins died because Lindbergh and Ford and others urged us to keep reaching out and negotiating with utter monsters who had openly declared their intentions.


A conversation on Bill Press's radio show this morning made the point that if you belong to any group which might be marginalized, this administration will come after you at some point. It's not only morally questionable to give him the benefit of the doubt that he won't come after your particular group, it's counter-factual. The whole strategy of appealing to the alt-white depends on encouraging bullying toward any and all "others".

Even arch-conservative Jonah Goldberg gets it, lamenting here that it was man-boy love, not anti-Semitism, which forced CPAC to distance itself from Milo. Goldberg correctly recognizes that the right is embracing anyone who makes liberals angry, and because he's Jewish, he's sensitive to when such "allies" threaten his own group. I'd propose that the difference beteween that and liberalism is that liberals understand the dynamic even when it's someone else being threatened.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-goldberg-cpac-milo-20170221-story.html


Last year, alt-righters got attention for hurling bigotry at Trump-skeptical journalists on social media. For instance, my National Review colleague David French was subjected almost daily to pictures of his adopted black daughter photo-shopped into a gas chamber, with a Nazi uniform-clad Donald Trump poised to push the button.

Yiannopoulos’ defense of all this is that it is funny and rebellious. “Just as the kids of the ’60s shocked their parents with promiscuity, long hair and rock ’n’ roll, so too do the alt-right’s young meme brigades shock older generations” with Holocaust jokes and Klan humor. It was, he and a colleague wrote for Breitbart, “undeniably hysterical.”

Well, I can deny it.

Countless conservatives defend Yiannopoulos (who admits he’s not a conservative) in much the same way Democrats defended the anti-Semitic “radio priest” Charles Coughlin as long as he supported the New Deal as “Christ’s Deal.” Conservatives cling to rationalizations to defend their champion. They say he “distanced” himself from the alt-right. He did, cynically — only after “Daddy,” his term for Donald Trump — was elected. They credit his claim that he can say anti-Semitic things because his grandmother was (allegedly) Jewish, and he can say racist things because he sleeps with black men.

These are the kinds of arguments a coalition accepts when it has lost its moral moorings and cares only about “winning.” Free expression was never the issue. If it were, he’d be at CPAC — and Breitbart — expressing the case for ephebophilia. Apparently conservatives still draw the line there, but not at anti-Semitism or racism. The tent, sad to say, is big enough for that.

Anonymous said...

Wow, calling the republicans treasonous crazies, yet again? What do you think a Graham's Numberth rehash of that very same line will bring that the previous or following reiterations didn't? Blinkered Brin flogs Dead Horse in I Know What The Confederacy Did Last Summer, CVXII. (This ... state of science blogging may be compared with the pagan druid, who is at present amid a multi-part series on the topic of Western Philosophy. Contrast much?)

LarryHart said...

Anonymous:

Wow, calling the republicans treasonous crazies, yet again?


Thomas Jefferson:

Hey, if the shoe fits, wear it.


Anonymous again:

What do you think a Graham's Numberth rehash of that very same line will bring that the previous or following reiterations didn't?


It worked for James Comey.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Let me weigh in and reinforce Larry and Dr. Brin's points and explain exactly what it is we are facing. These aren't "conservatives"; the GOP crowded out the conservatives years ago.
Remember the "Star of David" flap? Picture of Hillary, with a Star of David shaped call-out next to her? It was said that it came from inattentive graphic layout and was quickly changed to a circle, but that is a lie.
The original for that was directly cropped from a poster on 8Chan entitled "Big Jews who support Hillary" with pictures of prominent Jewish supporters of Hillary, including, amusingly, George Soros.
This happened the day after Elie Weisel died. 8Chan had a headline commemorating this: "Ding Dong, the Kike is dead!" (Sorry for the offensive term, but please, I'm making a very important point here).
The cartoon on that page sounds like a variation of the one Larry encountered: a grinning Donald Trump firing up a gas chamber, only my version had a sad-looking Bernie Sanders sitting inside.
No. We will never reach out to people like that. I'm willing to die to stop them, I'm willing to kill to stop them, but I will never negotiate with them.

Antonym said...

Maybe the uber-Christians of America elected Trump on purpose, hoping that he was crazy enough to start WW3 and force Jesus to ride down from heaven on a white steed and a flaming sword. Knowing several of this tribe, I would not be surprised in the slightest if that was in their heart of hearts.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Antonym said...

" I'm willing to die to stop them, I'm willing to kill to stop them, but I will never negotiate with them."

Gawddamm straight!

LarryHart said...

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


It should be noted that schools will still be allowed to protect transgender students if they choose to do so, so those trans students who are enrolled in schools in San Francisco, or Los Angeles, or Philadelphia, or New York City can likely rest easy. Trans students in most of the South or the Midwest, not so much, at least in the short term.


Is it a deliberate Republican strategy to encourage red states to make life uncomfortable for Democrats, encouraging them to move to the few defiant blue states? Since more liberal voters in Illinois or California (for example) doesn't increase Democratic representation in congress or the electoral college, the effect is to enhance the voting strength of Republicans in those bodies.

Robert said...

David,
I'm more inclined to say entire remaining Right. Maybe we should call them the post-Right, as in post-truth. And then there's the idiot PC post-Left - the Sokal Hoax people. I have too much respect for the real Left to consider them legitimate leftists. One of good features of Bernie Sanders is that he came out of old-school Socialism, with its focus on economics and the working class - all of the working class, whites included.

Back to the Right - an almost perfect example of a still-active legitimate conservative is Andrew Sullivan. He broke with the Republicans in 2004, and ended up voting for Kerry. Same as me, actually. In my own case it was the looting of the Iraqi National Museum that did it - you can imagine how well that went over with an ancient-history geek like me. What it clearly showed was the war in Iraq, whether or not it was otherwise justified, was totally pointless and already lost. As for Sullivan, though his trademark blog The Dish shut down in 2015, he's done good stuff for New York magazine since, including superb live-blogging of the National conventions, and a weekly column he just started. Highly recommended.

And then there's Yiannopoulos: you can count on the bigots at CPAC to adopt a nasty caricature of an empty-headed, shallow twink as their pet gay. He almost perfectly embodies what homophobes think gay men are like, right up to the ephebophilia. Unfortunately, people like him really exist. I remember chatting up one guy in a bar back in the Eighties - it was going fine until he told me he was in the KKK. You see, I had told him I was a conservative... I walked out.

A good term for the nastier Christian fundies, especially the Rapture freaks, is "Christianist", which Sullivan developed. And, speaking of the Rapture, I think it could be repurposed:
1. The raptees will not actually reappear anywhere.
2. The rest of us will not experience any Tribulation, but will enjoy the benefits of the raptees' absence.
Think of it as pest control, or if you've read Oath of Fealty, think of it as evolution in action. On the other hand, the comic book won't be nearly as good.


Bob Pfeiffer.
pre-Takeover Republican.

matthew said...

Blue kepi on top
Manufactories of war
Built to kill fascists

LarryHart said...

Robert (Bob Pfeiffer) :

A good term for the nastier Christian fundies, especially the Rapture freaks, is "Christianist", which Sullivan developed.


I honestly thought I made up the term "Christianist" as an analogue to "Islamicist", but then other people, including Paul Krugman, have used the same term, so I guess not. It's a good word, though, as it emphasizes the fact that what it describes is the notion that one doesn't have to himself be a good practicing Christian in order to be a proponent of the idea that America is rightfully owned by Christians, and that non-Christians live here at their fickle sufferance.


And, speaking of the Rapture, I think it could be repurposed:
1. The raptees will not actually reappear anywhere.
2. The rest of us will not experience any Tribulation, but will enjoy the benefits of the raptees' absence.


Hey, I've been praying for the Rapture for years now. If the ones who seem to think will be among the Chosen actually do get taken up, it would be a golden age for those of us Left Behind. Imagine what we could get done with the 4-0 majority in the Supreme Court and the Democratic majorities in both houses of congress. This is one of the highest on my list of hoped-for fantasy solutions to our country's troubles, right behind "So, it was all a dream!"

sociotard said...

I found this striking

Boehner: ObamaCare repeal and replace 'not going to happen'

Point one: Boehner said it would be more tweaks, little bill by little bill, but leaving most of the law in place.

Point two: Yay!

Point three: this quote: “Most of the framework of the Affordable Care Act … that’s going to be there,” Boehner reportedly said at the conference, adding that “Republicans never ever agree on healthcare.”

Mark that! Brin always comments on how Republicans are good at marching lockstep, but Democrats are herded cats. It isn't true! Minority parties are good at marching lockstep because there's less of them, they don't hold as many Purple districts, and they can't be held accountable for what happens anyway so they don't have to do things that lead to good governance.

But say it again, Republican Leadership doesn't think it is easy to coordinate Republican votes! It reminds me of the way my Republican friends would say "Democrats appeal to emotion, but Republicans appeal to Logic", and my Democrat friends would say the same thing in reverse.

Jumper said...

Seems everyone cares what things are called more than what they are. Making up ugly names for the pig Trump. Change the name of Obamacare to Boehnercare, then keep it. Screw it up some just for show. Sure Trump's a fascist, but whose mind is evolving?

Speaking of which, if Israel did nothing more than change its name, couldn't peace break out?

That's about all for today. I had two interesting moments today. One was finding out my medicine was more expensive with insurance than without. Love how much my employer must be kicking in! Also I was watching James O'Keefe on a video so I could play the prankster and take some of his words out of context, which I did. (But he's pretty careful overall.) He was genuinely praising Saul Alinsky, though. Interesting.

Anonymous said...

Nobody is dividing this country except mental cases like you and Ashley Judd.

----> MENTAL CASE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b6Ech3hTSKU

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

Speaking of which, if Israel did nothing more than change its name, couldn't peace break out?


That's so stupid it just might work. (Seriously)

David Brin said...

What Atomic Zepp man said.

LarryHart:
And, speaking of the Rapture, I think it could be repurposed:
1. The raptees will not actually reappear anywhere.
2. The rest of us will not experience any Tribulation, but will enjoy the benefits of the raptees' absenc

Oh, I don’t mind them reappearing, smug, in their simplistic paradise-lobotomized singing paeans and thinking no new thoughts, free of any ambition or any other human trait. Enjoy. While we get on with the holy human traits - yes, love, but also ambition and curiosity.

sociotard sorry you are wrong. The GOP’s agenda is to prevent functional government, and discipline at THAT is very effective.

anonymous, it truly is pathetic how pathetically you illustrate the very wide breadth of human nature and human intelligence. We need reminders how diverse a species we are.

Victoria Silverwolf said...

I took a look at the original article about STEM syllabi. The whole article is full of academic gobbledygook and nonsense, making a big deal over the use of "I" and "you" rather than "we" and "us" and such. However, as Doctor Brin indicated, the "Reason" summary exaggerates its flaws. There's nothing in there that I can see about "hurting women's feelings," which struck me as the folks at "Reason" saying "Nyah, nyah, you girls can't take it."

What's frustrating to me is that, buried under a lot of blather, there's a grain of wisdom in that article. A clear and concise article opining that science shouldn't be taught only as an individualistic effort, but as one also requiring co-operation, would make an important point.

It also strikes me as important to point out that scholars of this politically correct type, who are so often maligned (for good reason), have very little true political power, unlike their opposite. I can laugh at the pretensions of their ilk, but the opposite side scares me.

LarryHart said...

Victoria Silverwolf:

There's nothing in there that I can see about "hurting women's feelings," which struck me as the folks at "Reason" saying "Nyah, nyah, you girls can't take it."


Something similar happened back when Larry Summers lost his Harvard job when he discussed reasons why women weren't entering the sciences, and a female student claimed her feelings were hurt. This was used as an example by the right of how censoring liberals are--that even statements of fact must be vetted for political correctness. But all of the liberals I know, myself included, were on Summers's side of that issue, asserting that he shouldn't have been fired for what he said and that Harvard was feckless for firing him.

The trend toward "safe spaces" and "trigger warnings" seems more a sign of institutions worried about lawsuits than about any agenda instituted by liberals.

Michael Stone said...

Does "Confederacy" refer to the Southern Confederacy or to a Confederacy of Dunces?

Paul Revile said...

I suggest you amend your blog title to "Orthodoxly Brin." If you choose to call me out, allow my reply to remain.

Jonathan Sills said...

"Does "Confederacy" refer to the Southern Confederacy or to a Confederacy of Dunces?"

Yes.

David Brin said...

Paul R, might you actually try to spell the significant word in your snark? But oh! I am so wounded by a fact-free neener snark! Ow!!

David Brin said...

Victoria I agree that PC-police may be aggravating, but they control neither police or coercive power nor great numbers, nor a political party. I do disagree about the essence of science though. Scientists are inherently among the most competitive of all humans and that is a good thing. Only artists are more competitive.

LarryHart said...

Michael Stone:

"Does "Confederacy" refer to the Southern Confederacy or to a Confederacy of Dunces?"


It can be two things. :)

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Does "Confederacy" refer to the Southern Confederacy or to a Confederacy of Dunces?"

I look at Steve Bannon, and I say "both".

Victoria Silverwolf said...

"Scientists are inherently among the most competitive of all humans and that is a good thing. Only artists are more competitive."

I would not disagree with this, but I would also add the observation that scientists make use of the work of other scientists -- "I have stood on the shoulders of giants" and all that -- as artists make use of the work of other artists, if in a competitive way. "You've done something very good there; now watch me do it better, and in a more original way."

Perhaps it is co-operative competition?

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

Speaking of which, if Israel did nothing more than change its name, couldn't peace break out?


Let's see, the historic names Judea and Palestine are each probably too political to work. I suppose it could be called Canaan, but I suspect that also has bad connotations for monotheists.

"Israel" is another name for the biblical Jacob, so "children of Israel" literally means the descendants of Jacob, and "land of Israel" refers to territory owned by those descendants. In that light, perhaps something as simple as calling the place the "land of Abraham" instead would be more inclusive of the inhabitants of the region. Children of Abraham would still include the Israelites, but also their Arab cousins, the children of Ishmael.

Kal Kallevig said...

"With his promise to “Make America Great Again,” Trump appealed directly to this sense of dispossession, and 81 percent of white evangelicals voted for him, according to exit polls.”

The ones I know did it because of the supreme court mostly, although those other reasons were probably in there too.

Duncan Cairncross said...

I know Dr Brin does not believe that economics was a big factor in the Donald's victory

But he does not realize -
The US working man has KNOWN - not "believed" but KNOWN that he was the best off in the world

Back when I was in the USA he was NOT the best off - but he still KNEW that he was the best off
Now - nearly 20 years later - he has been unable to maintain that fiction - now he is aware that he is no longer the best off - his parents are better off and his kids will never be as well off as he is

This is what gripes him - and the people who are not at the very bottom are the ones that feel it worst

He (and it is mostly him) realizes that he has been shafted - not nearly as badly as the guys at the bottom - but they have always been shafted -
He has just realized - it's fresh in his mind

Hillary and Obama have helped him - but they are saying - it's all right - we are on the right course
Which is NOT what he needs to hear

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Jumper said...

Abrahama sounds too much like Alabama, but I still like it.

......

I know enough visual artists to know they aren't any more competitive than any other vocation. Collaboration thrives. Not that very many share the chore of applying paint to the same canvas! But artists groups, retreats, and especially the sharing of techniques and themes, exist widely. You saw it in Cubism, Modernism, too many -isms to even note. Several Impressionists painted the same scene others painted, and they were more friends enjoying working with each other than serious competitors. Although Seurat definitely had his opinions.

Jumper said...

Here's a good article on Monet and Renoir at the same time and place, the "frog pond."
https://kiamaartgallery.wordpress.com/2015/05/14/impressionism-monet-and-renoir-la-grenouillere-the-frog-pond-1869/

LarryHart said...

Kal Kallevig:

The ones [evangelicals] I know did it because of the supreme court mostly, although those other reasons were probably in there too.


In a rational world, both parties would agree to a constitutional amendment changing the terms of Supreme Court justices to long-but-not-lifetime such that no particular president is in the position of "altering the court for a generation or more." That way, we wouldn't be stuck in the situation where no matter how deplorable "our" candidate is, we can't tolerate the possibility of the other candidate influencing the court.

In the current system, yes, one must stand behind his own party's candidate no matter how insane that candidate's positions are, because of the threat of the other side taking over the Supreme Court. Even so, most voters seem to be misguided, voting for someone who will stack the court the way they want on abortion or gun rights. Thus, the Republicans actually stack the courts in favor of corporate interests over human ones. Their voters might well get what they want and still not be very happy (and blame Democrats).


LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

He (and it is mostly him) realizes that he has been shafted - not nearly as badly as the guys at the bottom - but they have always been shafted -
He has just realized - it's fresh in his mind

Hillary and Obama have helped him - but they are saying - it's all right - we are on the right course
Which is NOT what he needs to hea


Getting the voter you describe to not vote for the party who shafts him the most seems like it should be an easily solvable problem. So why it it so difficult if not impossible?

And yes, Trump campaigned as if he was on their side, but the Republican congressmen they also voted for weren't hiding what they are. The Bernie-or-Busters elected a congress which largely neuters Bernie's influence. Where's the percentage in that?

Darrell E said...

Science is definitely competitive, but cooperation is absolutely essential for the process to work. It is at the heart of the process of science, right along with empirical testing, modeling and predicting. Peer review, independent verification. And, as we have picked the low hanging fruit, further progress takes more direct, straight-forward cooperation, as in scientists working together, than ever before. For example the decades search for the Higgs which required tens of thousands of scientists, engineers, fabricators and even bean counters, from all over the world to achieve.

The process of science is a perfect example of several of the things David has expounded on for years. Instead of cooperation and competition being thought of as being at odds with each other science harnesses both in a positive sum way that beats the shit out of what could be accomplished by only one or the other, or worse by pitting the two against each other.

Tim H. said...

This amused me:
https://extranewsfeed.com/a-spell-to-bind-donald-trump-and-all-those-who-abet-him-february-24-mass-ritual--51f3d94f62f4#.bkbx90el2

Some folks have stronger feelings about that man than I do.

TCB said...

LarryHart said:

"The Bernie-or-Busters elected a congress which largely neuters Bernie's influence."

I don't buy all the Blame-The-Bernie-Busters meme. I don't see any hard evidence that these voters existed in numbers large enough to justify this line of criticism, which can be taken as a veiled attack on anyone who doesn't want to toe the centrist party line. As far as that goes, it was the Clinton campaign's error in failing to see that many of their longtime supporters were fed up with centrist/neoliberal gruel... As Thom Hartmann points out, Trump won key portions of the Midwestern 'Blue Wall' by running as a liberal on killing the trade deals. Many voters probably figured Hillary would tell them what they wanted to hear (TPP BAD!) and then ram the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal through anyway.

I voted for her, and I still expected her to do exactly that!

In any event, it seems probable to me that Kris Kobach's vote-suppressing Crosscheck program, all by itself, cost the Dems more votes than the (largely anecdotal) Bernie-or-Buster defections did. Playing up the Bernie-or-Buster menace doesn't just serve Dem centrist goals, but Trumpian ones too, in my view. Buying into this meme helps to split Dems; it's the centrists who need to bend to the Berniecrats now, not the other way. The centrist way of shafting the working-folks base, kowtowing to Wall Street, and pulling punches against the conservative hypnosis machine has been tried and proven disastrous on nearly all fronts: political, economic, environmental, human rights, war and peace.

Finally, I'd like to note that this is a classic case of 'hate the game, not the player.' It's not the moral fault of a Buster, a Stein voter, or (a few elections ago) a Nader voter, that their votes for a 'fringe' candidate are 'wasted.' This is a fault of the way we run elections!


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In this particular case, I don't refer to the electoral college (which needs to go away!) nor to gerrymandering (which also needs to go away!) but to First-Past-The-Post elections.

As I understand it, there is no way to do elections that is absolutely flawless; all methods can give an unpopular result once in a blue moon. But we Americans have one of the worst systems of election one could possible create. Here's a nice video on How First Past The Post voting mercilessly eliminates all but two viable parties.

This creates two ruling parties which are, really, coalitions of the unwilling, so to speak. Only a few in each party really like all the planks in their party's platform; instead, many voters in each party simply support it because they want to prevent the other party from doing a lot of the stuff they REALLY don't want.

European-style party coalitions can disintegrate in a matter of months if they break faith with their base of supporters; duopoly parties like the ones we have can short-change and condescend to their base for years- for decades!- before the base breaks into open revolt. Which finally happened last year.

But this is not a moral sin of the defecting voters; it's the party leaders who treated them as hostages, using the other party as a boogyman to scare the base into line. The boogyman was real, obviously. But so was the hostage situation.

We'll see real light at the end of this tunnel when, in addition to real reform of the electoral college, of gerrymandering, of money in politics, and a few other items, we get real reform of FPTP voting in favor of one of the alternatives which tend to create bad results much more rarely and which allow voters to choose what they really want instead of the lesser evil.

raito said...

Jumper,

Back in the 90's, I lived for a year on a street that was 2 blocks long. And had 2 patrol cars 24-7 paid for by the feds. It was what passes for a bad neighborhood around here. Not coincidentally, 2/3 of the licesnse plates were from IL and would disappear for a couple days every couple weeks. If you walked a block to the north, which was in a different municipality, you would be followed by one of their cars. PArt of the solution? Change the name of the street. In any case, it's easy to repdict the next 'bad' neigborhood here. Just look for which high-density housing was either built or extensively remodeled 30 years ago. The current problem area (and I stress that it's not nearly as bad as it could be) is an area that was refurbished 30 years ago when the local tech school moved its campus near to the area.

In encryption news there's this:
https://security.googleblog.com/2017/02/announcing-first-sha1-collision.html?m=1

The jist is that the google guys were able to produce 2 documents that give the same SHA1 signature. They took 2 years to do it, and claim that brute force would have taken 100,000 times longer. But it points out a danger that's sort of the flipside of encruption. The problem with encryption is that with enough computational power, you can decrypt the document. With this sort of technique, you can produce documents with different content than the original, but appear to be the same as they have the same signatures.

Every signature algorithm has the weakness that potentially an infinite number of source documents can have the same signature. In practice, this ofte isn't a problem. Unless someone can potentially produce a document with different content that appears from the signature side to be the same. Chain of custody is still important.

In particular, one very popular source control package still uses it, and that package is in use for an awful lot of open source software. In theory, source files could be replaced with others without the pacakge knowing. In practice, it would ahve to happen directly on the servers, rather than through the interface, which would still keep track of the transactions.

Part of the point is that even better algorithms (SHA has been mostly deprecated for a while, but sadly not completely) with wider signature spaces are subject to these sorts of attacks, it just takes longer. And computation power climbs, these will fall to the same sorts of attacks.

Victoria Silverwolf,

And remember what Richard Hamming said.

"Make sure your shoulders are worthy of standing on."

LarryHart,

Because the guys doing the shafting blame it on others, and promise a big jump if those others are just out of the picture. The ones not doing the shafting say they'll move slow and steady. The fact that the big jump doesn't happen doesn't seem to matter.

Darrell E,

I often wonder if the sports team metqaphor would get the idea over with more people. The team wants to win. But within the team, the individuals definitely want to jump higher, run faster, and score more than their peers. Also, and this is the important point, attempting to be superior by pushing down the others on the team hurts the team. So improper competition hurts cooperation. Unfortuantely, I think a lot of people won't be able to understand this metaphor without trying to figure out who the 'other' team is. As if there has to be one.

LarryHart said...

raito:

In any event, it seems probable to me that Kris Kobach's vote-suppressing Crosscheck program, all by itself, cost the Dems more votes than the (largely anecdotal) Bernie-or-Buster defections did.


You are correct that Crosscheck, Voter ID laws, shutting down polling places, and all sorts of voter suppression served the Republican Party well. I do have to keep reminding myself of that when I become incensed at Democrats who "stayed home". Many were metaphorically under house arrest.

Usually, the only reason I still get mad at "Bernie-or-Busters" is when they're still vocal about that very position, even with benefit of hindsight.


Playing up the Bernie-or-Buster menace doesn't just serve Dem centrist goals, but Trumpian ones too, in my view. Buying into this meme helps to split Dems; it's the centrists who need to bend to the Berniecrats now, not the other way. The centrist way of shafting the working-folks base, kowtowing to Wall Street, and pulling punches against the conservative hypnosis machine has been tried and proven disastrous on nearly all fronts: political, economic, environmental, human rights, war and peace.


On this, I agree, but we're not there yet where the Bernie wing can win on its own. We will be in a few elections, but for now, there has to be coalition-bulding. Bernie was kinda like Edith Keeler: "She was right, but at the wrong time. Her delaying of America's entry into the war allowed Hitler to complete his heavy water experiments."

There are places in the country which do support the corporatist agenda, because they are afraid for their jobs. West Virginia voters apparently like the idea of eliminating regulations protecting their streams and waterways from being poisoned. How are Berniecrats supposed to win that game?

Finally, I'd like to note that this is a classic case of 'hate the game, not the player.' It's not the moral fault of a Buster, a Stein voter, or (a few elections ago) a Nader voter, that their votes for a 'fringe' candidate are 'wasted.' This is a fault of the way we run elections!


I agree with the sentiment, but the players have to know what game they're playing.

Nader voters might truly have believed that there was no difference between Bush and Gore. Hillary-haters with short memories might truly have believed that there was no difference between Hillary and Trump. I'd say these folks have now been fooled twice, and they should understand that you have to play the game you're in, not the game you wish you were in. At least if you care about which policies get enacted more than you care about symbolic gestures.

Some people are one-issue voters on abortion or guns. In 2016, I was a one-issue voter for the Supreme Court. But now, I'd even concede the nomination to future-president Pence if we would just remove the actual Nazis from the inner circle of the White House. And whatever one thinks badly of Hillary on economic issues, she wouldn't have opened that particular can of worms.

LarryHart said...

raito:

We'll see real light at the end of this tunnel when, in addition to real reform of the electoral college, of gerrymandering, of money in politics, and a few other items, we get real reform of FPTP voting


The problem with any of these is that the reforms would have to be done by the very parties who benefit from the dysfunctions. Changes to the Constitution especially require support from 3/4 of the states, and most of those states would lose influence if the Electoral College was made more democratic. Gerrymandering in a state would have to be un-done by the party in power who is in a position to most benefit from the practice. Democrats and Republicans would have to un-do the election rules which benefit their duopoly.

I'm not saying it can't be done, but the forces to be overcome are awesome in strength.


in favor of one of the alternatives which tend to create bad results much more rarely and which allow voters to choose what they really want instead of the lesser evil.


One alternative I don't see mentioned anywhere else makes a lot of sense to me--treat the election the way the primaries work. Candidates who have to drop out can direct their votes (or their electoral votes) toward another candidate to push them over the 50% mark. It's sort of like IRV, except it's the candidate who does the allocating. It allows for coalition building between similar factions, sort of like a parliamentary system albeit without the vote of no confidence and accompanying new elections. The coalitions would only be built every election year, but that's still better than how we do it now.

David Brin said...

What Darrell said...

David Brin said...

raito: “ it's the centrists who need to bend to the Berniecrats now, not the other way.”

Sorry but this is diametrically opposite to true. Sure, mobilizing the left better will be useful. But even if we ignore the fringe’s flighty unreliability and capriciousness, there is the simple fact that there is very littl low hanging fruit to be plucked in that direction,
That approach will not accomplish what’s needed, which is the utter destruction if today’s undead elephant, the zombie-frothing-rabid GOP. That can only be accomplished by INVADING red territory and tearing states, counties, districts, precincts away from them!

That does not mean disenfranchising the citizens there. They are by character and personality conservative people… who have been lured into thinking that mens they must hate the liberal values and methods used by the very same Greatest Generation they so revere. If we can lure them back into realizing that there are other versions of “conservatism,” then the monsters and oligarch-feudalists might lose their grip.

raito’s method might eke us a narrow “victory” and retake the Senate. BFD. I want to destroy the confederacy and welcome back the GOP of Eisenhower. That can only happen by marching like Sherman through Georgia, not burning the people but their loyalty to plantation lords. And that can only happen in one way.

Blue Dogs.

Woof. Thousands of Clintonian Blue Dogs. Retired army & marine colonels and navy captains. Waves of them sent to every single “safe” Republican Congressional and state assembly district, wresting away hundreds and scaring thousands more.

raito, you are thinking way, way too small. Will these blue dogs agree with Bernites on all things? Hell no. They will be irksome and inconvenient and even enraging as you scream at them and then negotiate, because they will be sane adults who want the nation to work, for women to have choice, for tolerance and science and a healthy planet. And you’ll negotiate and they will negotiate and we’ll have politics again.

And THEN you will try to win enough elections between adults so you will have a socialist majority. And 51% will work.

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin and raito,

The same strategy for winning the White House won't necessarily work in smaller local elections. It's all well and good to say that the national party should be against burning coal, but if you want to win a district in West Virginia or Kentucky, your campaign slogan can't be "I'll put you out of work because your work harms the country." Likewise, you won't get very far with minorities on a platform of trying to outcompete Republicans for the angry rural white vote. The trick has to be to promote Democrats who can do well by their local constituents while simultaneously doing what's right for America at the national level.

It's not as simple as a national purity test for the entire party, but Democrats can't seem to win that way anyway (though Republicans do all the time).

Jason said...

Disneyland with new settlements in Frontierland. Palestinians already used to standing in lines to enter. Happiest place on earth.

Jason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
branding genius said...

OMG! We all get a really good laugh when conservatives say stupid things, But David Brin’s suggestion that we brand a Democratic election strategy in the south as a New Sherman’s March, has got to the stupidest idea I have ever heard.

What is next? An African American outreach called the Nathan Bedford Forest brigade. (the have the nicest white uniforms)
A native American Indian electoral strategy called the New Trail of Tears?

LarryHart said...

@raito,

Perhaps some sign that the Democratic Part is beginning to get it?

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/us/democrats-dnc-chairman-trump-keith-ellison-tom-perez.html


...
“Part of what I think the Bernie campaign taught us, even the Trump campaign taught us, and now the resistance is teaching us, is just ditch the consultants and consult with your conscience and constituents first,” said Senator Brian Schatz of Hawaii, warning his fellow Democrats that “it’s a fool’s errand to try to plan this out like it’s a traditional political operation.”

Mr. Merkley boasted that “we’re doing things in the Senate that are less conventional,” efforts he said were aimed at conveying to anti-Trump voters that “hey, we’re here and we’re fighting.”

Those efforts have included tactics like walking out on nomination hearings and opposing even less controversial cabinet appointments, such as that of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, the wife of the Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell.

The fear factor is real, said Adam Jentleson, a former Senate Democratic aide. Images of angry constituents jeering Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a reliable liberal from Rhode Island, at a town hall-style meeting in late January for supporting the selection of Mike Pompeo as C.I.A. director quickly circulated among other Democratic senators, he said.

“It was eye-opening,” Mr. Jentleson said, “because it made clear that the base is not going to let them off the hook.”

David Brin said...

branding genius of course you are right… if my angry raving deep in a comments thread can be used against us.

Jumper said...

Until the Dems study up on psy-ops / dirty tricks they'll continue to lose.

branding genius said...

Well David, I am glad that you still have enough self awareness to recognize that.

But do you realize that by framing our current political conflicts in terms of a continuation of the Civil War is almost as bad? Here in the south, the Civil War is remembered as the War of Northern Aggression. And framing what you are trying to do as a continuation of the War of Northern Aggression doesn't win you many friends and allies.

Paul451 said...

David,
Re: The main article, & Trump voters:

The problem with all these "culture" explanations is that they don't explain why the US previously voted for a clever, black, liberal from Chicago. Twice. I don't argue that it isn't a perfectly valid reason why the good people of Lynchnigger, Alabama voted for Trump. But those people never voted for Obama, therefore they don't explain the election of Trump.

The Democratic Party needs to understand why people who voted for Obama (twice!) then turned around and voted for Trump.

And all the culture-war, racism, religion, city/rural arguments don't cut it.

Re: Income of Trump supporters.

It's irrelevant whether Trump supporters are slightly above or below the median income. The issue is that the median income has barely budged over the last almost forty years, a time during which the US Real Per-capita GDP has nearly doubled. The American economy has doubled in size, per person, but the income of the average person is virtually stagnant. In effect, half the potential wealth of the average American has been stolen.

If that isn't a cause for anger, what the hell is?

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
"Getting the voter you describe to not vote for the party who shafts him the most seems like it should be an easily solvable problem. So why it it so difficult if not impossible?"

Because only one side is saying "It's true, you really are worse off, and this is who to blame, and this is what we can do to fix it" in forums and language that much of the US will listen to; and has been consistently saying it for decades.

And it ain't the Democrats.

"The Bernie-or-Busters elected a congress"

As TCB says, there was no such animal.

There might have been people who would have voted for Sanders (because he said the words) and instead voted for Trump and hence the Republican down-ticket. But the number of people who did vote for Sanders in the Democratic Primary, but voted for Republican Senators in November, were too tiny be statistically detected.

"Bernie bros" is like the "culture" explanation for Trump, it just pushes the Democratic leadership further from understanding why they lost.

Paul451 said...

branding genius,
"Here in the south, the Civil War is remembered as the War of Northern Aggression. And framing what you are trying to do as a continuation of the War of Northern Aggression doesn't win you many friends and allies."

Your mistake is assuming that we want to win allies in the Confederate states amongst the sort of cretins who talk about the "War of Northern Aggression". The issue is why Democrats can't win amongst the victims of the aggression of such cretins.

Paul451 said...

branding genius,
"But David Brin's suggestion that we brand a Democratic election strategy in the south as a New Sherman's March, has got to the stupidest idea I have ever heard."

Brin didn't suggest "branding" the strategy a "New Sherman's March". The name, and the capitalisation, was yours.

Brin's actual words:
"That can only happen by marching like Sherman through Georgia, not burning the people but their loyalty to plantation lords."

Apparently you're not a "reading genius".

Jumper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Paul451 said...

LarryHart,

I crossed your post of the NYTimes article, so my comments are out of sequence...

"Perhaps some sign that the Democratic Part is beginning to get it?"

I don't think the quotes in the article indicate that. The Dems might be trying to appeal to the angry left of the party, the too-emotional-to-think-rationally anti-Trump faction.

But I don't believe they understand why so many potential Dem voters -- blue collar workers, women, Hispanics -- instead voted for Trump.

LarryHart said...

Once again, I thought I was noticing something that no one else saw or cared about--that America treats Republicans as if they are the natural ruling class, and so breaking a rule or two (or ten) is no biggie, whereas Democrats are to be called on any minor infraction, because the point of the rules is to keep Democrats from being too uppity.

So then I just stumble across this Bill Maher video in which he goes off about the exact same thing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFWv42U1l4A

The whole thing is worth a listen, but some highlights:


I have to say to all you flag-waving right-wingers who always say, "I'm not going to stand here and let you run down America!", you're standing there and letting Trump run down America.

...

If you have the magic "(R)" after your name, you can drive a hummer through a day-care center, and FOX News will say the babies were asking for it.

...

...even though this guy did it with a dog.
[You need to see the visual for that one]

...

Reagan once sold weapons to Iran, the country they all want to bomb now, in brazen defiance of American law, and instead of being impeached, he was elevated to sainthood and now rides horses in heaven with Jesus.


Much more too.

David Brin said...

branding: sorry. Too late. We have endured generations of sneering hatred and contempt from confederates over how much more moral they are, while they grab benefits hand over fist . Hatred of fact, of knowledge, of every single knowledge using profession, deliberate destruction of every political process or method of negotiation, smashing even the CONCEPT of calm negotiation… these have harmed our nation and civilization almost lethally. No attempt to negotiate is not spurned. No reaching out to them does n’t result in a bloody stump. The blatant aim is to restore feudalism...

…so what is it you are asking of us? I have just said we must have a broad tent that includes conservatives! So long as they are modern, logical, scientific and adult. If the Union wins, we move on, charitably and generously to the next thing. If the confederacy wins, it is all over. Stop telling us to keep reaching out when it is genuinely and in all ways war.

BTW, branding, name for me one redeeming quality of the 1860s confederacy other than impressive courage and martial qualities, One. Such courage and warrior brilliance, in service to one of the most foul causes in the history of our species.

Jumper said...

The Dems don't need to do dirty tricks, but they sure need to see when they are being done to them.

A lot of marginal voters who don't vote much stayed home. Independent voters sick of transgender policy they consider idiotic stayed home. Lefty college students branded "snowflakes" disgusted independents and the angry voters. Angry voters voted more for Trump. Elections are a game of inches, and Trump got an extra one percent from the insane.

LarryHart said...

@Paul451,

I'm not really arguing with you, but trying to get to the bottom of "So what can we do about it?" How can we convince the average voter that Republicans are actually bad for them, no matter what those same Republicans tell them?

Hillary and the DNC ultimately didn't campaign well. Agreed. To paraphrase a line from "Fiddler On The Roof", "So they ran a bad campaign. Why should I suffer?" There's got to be a better way for people to get the message out to other voters what is at stake. That sort of thing apparently cannot be left to the candidates' campaigns themselves, nor should it be an option only for those with the money and resources of the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, or Sheldon Adelson.


LarryHart said...

Paul451:

But I don't believe they understand why so many potential Dem voters -- blue collar workers, women, Hispanics -- instead voted for Trump.


I sure don't.

Actually, maybe I do, although I'm loathe to admit it because it's the same sort of surrender of maturity that my own fantasy solutions are ("So, it was all a dream!"). They voted for a candidate who claims the ability to create his own "reality", because the actual Reality has let them down so often that they see no point in accepting that actual Reality any longer. By showing loyalty to Trump, they hope he'll reciprocate by somehow improving their lives. They already know that Reality won't do so.


LarryHart said...

@Paul451,

An example of what I'm talking about...Jill Stein sued over possible vote tampering in three swing states. She was challenged in at least one of those states over her standing to bring the suit. The challenge was that since she herself didn't have a chance of winning, she was not personally harmed by the result.

That is wrong on so many levels. Any citizen of the United States should have standing to contest a suspect election. This is not about which candidate gets to win the prize--it's about how we citizens get to run our government.

It's similar with the campaigns. If I feel strongly that Hillary is preferable to Trump for reasons X, Y, and Z, but Hillary is only campaigning on topics A, B, and C, what is my option? I can donate money to Hillary's campaign, but she won't use it to put forth the arguments I think need to be made to my fellow Americans. The solution isn't to have a different candidate to get my message out. I need access to the public square. How can that work?

branding genius said...

What am I asking?
I am asking that you not frame our current political problems as a continuation of the Civil War. That frame might have some righteous resonance with some folks but for a whole lot of southerners if something is framed as a continuation of the civil war all that is heard is you want to forcefully impose your "solutions" on us.

Instead talk about all the good stuff the Federal government has done for the south,
the TVA, The WPA, Social Security, Medicare, the highways, etc. And maybe work towards some policies that benefit everyone like Medicare for All instead of just some sub group of Americans.

David Brin said...

Sorry branding genius but you are 100% wrong. The approach you recommend has been used by us smartypants, fact-centered, science and future oriented americans for 30 years. There is absolute immunity against factual refutation. There was no living human who tried the reasonable approach harder than Barack Obama. Continuing to try your approach only now engenders sneering, delighted contempt.

It is over, done. The treason is blatant and open. You are asking me to turn the other cheek a 900th time when the punks slapping us are giggling and relishing our sucker sappy foolishness.

No, they will only respect strength. The Strong Father (Lakoff) is exactly why they voted for Trump, who they openly admit knows nothing and is a nasty person, but they want strong. And they will only end this civil war when we are strong. And they only respect strength that hits back.

You are asking us to lie down and continue to be raped. There are boiler rooms filled with Koch paid trolls and some of them are charged to go around the web, not screaming but soothing: "Let's be reasonable for ONE MORE year!"

I suspect you are one of the latter. Tell your bosses it isn't working, anymore. We will fight for our republic.

LarryHart said...

@branding genius,

You're saying Democrats should take credit for the things that Republicans fight against tooth and nail? The same Republicans you keep voting for so they can prevent Democrats from moving on to Medicare for All and the like? And that standing for policies that benefit everyone will gain Democrats voters in the south rather than just branding them as anti-American communists?

If so, I don't entirely disagree, but let's be clear what we're talking about.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

No, they will only respect strength. The Strong Father (Lakoff) is exactly why they voted for Trump, who they openly admit knows nothing and is a nasty person, but they want strong. And they will only end this civil war when we are strong. And they only respect strength that hits back.


On "The West Wing", Toby Zeigler once argued for a strong response toward a fictitious terrorist nation in the Middle East along the same lines, that we won't gain friends by giving in to an endless series of ever-escalating demands.

"They'll like us when we win."

Paul451 said...

LarryHart,
Re: What to do

In all honesty, I don't know. But Sanders appealed to non-Dems. And all he campaigned on was the economic theft I mentioned. That alone took him from someone-you've-never-heard-of to nearly-got-the-nomination.

You're facing the result of decades of propaganda, so I suspect that you have to be monomaniacal. I'm sure it's not enough, but it's the only starting point. And right now they aren't even trying.

What you shouldn't do, and what I fear the Dems will do, is try to use token tribalism to appeal to the fringes, either left or right. Appealing to the left was what the NYT article was about.

And Brandy wants them to reach out to the Deep South, which is retarded. Oh noes, you've hurt the feelings of people who will never vote for Democrats. As I said, the issue isn't "why did the Klan support Trump". The issue is "why did people who supported Obama, support Trump."

Instead, I believe the Dems need to stop apologising for being Dems, stop letting the Right (and the media Right) set the calling card. Stop desperately trying to be considered the "responsible" party, when they will never, ever be given credit for doing anything right. (The corollary to Maher's point.) Stop grovelling to big banks, Wall Street, conservative "intellectuals", who serve only those who have robbed the American people. Do what works to get the job done, without apology, without trying to win friends on the other side. You might lose a few centrists as well, but you'll gain a lot more who respect the strength and integrity of standing your ground.

[I wrote this before you posted the West Wing quote, but the same sentiment.]

LarryHart said...

Hey, Donald Trump actually told the truth!

Fake News really is the enemy of the American people.

He's just misguided about which outlets actually are fake news.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"He's just misguided about which outlets actually are fake news."
I just had an immense jarring as to how pernicious and deceitful fake news can be. I got an email from a friend reading, "This is short and from 2012. I had heard of course that the Israelis were forewarned and that over 150 didn't show up at work at the twin towers. But I hadn't heard that 3 Israeli reporters were sent to document the 9/11 event and admitted it publicly. And of course who had the most experience technologically and would most benefit from a "Pearl Harbor" to gain from resultant attacks on Muslim/ Arab states?" There was a Youtube link attached.
The genesis of that story is actually fairly well known. It came out two days after the attacks, and the source was National Vanguard, a neo-Nazi group. It was dressed up to be a ZOG-Government conspiracy, and my friend probably wouldn't know what "ZOG" was (I didn't bother viewing the video, but I recognised the conspiracy theory straightaway). My friend is a new age Seeker, chockful of theories about chemtrails and Lemurians and all the other things that make up a good chunk of Mount Shasta's economy. She's very intelligent, except that she loves ideas that are complete nonsense. She regards me as being a bit unimaginative, of course.
But here's what made it so jarring. She's 80 years old and Jewish. She was spirited out of Poland as a toddler, shipped to London, survived the Blitz, and wound up in California. Nearly all of her family perished.
Thanks to the persuasiveness of videos and obfuscation of too-obvious identifiers, plus a psychotic willingness to lie and smear, she was actually conned into propagating a twenty-first century blood libel against her own people.
We all fall for fake news at one point or another. It's pervasive, and can be very sneaky. Education is the only known cure, only the far right is doing all it can to deprecate that, too.


Zepp Jamieson said...

Oh, in addition: I got that email about three hours ago, and promptly emailed my friend letting her know the exact nature of that story. Haven't heard back yet.

branding genius said...

lary hart
yes you get it!
Social Security and Medicare are really popular and effective systems brought to us by Democrats and opposed by republicans. Democrats need to do more stuff like that and constantly take credit for it. Stuff that directly helps normal everyday people.
But over the last 30 or so years we got the New Democrats
they fight for black folks
they fight for gay folks
they fight for abortion
they fight for the poor
they fought for globalization
but for the ordinary working men and women? all we got was shitty mandatory for profit insurance aka obamacare.



David
if i were a Koch funded troll i would be encouraging you to push for a New Democratic Sherman's March though the south. I would encourage you rant and rave and demonize republicans. I would be passing along some of your more unhinged rants against republicans to talk radio and alt right websites so that you could become a new Emmanuel Goldstein for republicans.




LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

So much for the idea that the alt-right can't be anti-Semitic because some of its members are Jewish.

branding genius said...

just to be clear
Immigrants, black folk, gay folk all deserve to be treated with dignity and respect and helping the poor is a good, but doing good things for all of us is what has been lacking in the new democrats.

locumranch said...


What I promised has occurred.

We've arrived at a most unique political nexus wherein the interests of the Pussy-Hatted progressive protester coincides in no small way with Cliven Bundy's antiestablismentarianism militia.

I find our host's rather new demand for Civil War Part 2 & federal nullification most gratifying, yet I am somewhat puzzled by his attempt to conflate the Deep State with the cause of Science.

This is what he is arguing, n'est pas? That any number of unregulated, anti-democratic & self-serving bureaucracies -- from the EPA to Education to the FBI to EU paper-pushers internationale -- exist solely to serve at the Altar of Science?

This is an absurd suggestion, evoking the plot of 'The Postman', wherein an aimless drifter (with fraudulent intent) dons the discarded uniform of a low-level government delivery boy, only to be magically transformed into the Guardian of Science, Reason & Federalism.

I just don't buy it, this magic conflation of Bureaucracy & Science:

Science is NOT the same as Bureaucracy; and, most certainly, Bureaucracy ain't Science.


Best
_____

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYQ4uV8NDJo

LarryHart said...

@branding genius,

This isn't an exact analogy, but there is an application. I have no idea how old you are, but if you're old enough to remember the original movie called "The Poseidon Adventure" from the 1970s, there's a bit toward the end when the intrepid group has almost reached their goal at the "bottom" of the ship, which is the highest spot (because the ship is upside down). As they move along a catwalk, a steam pipe ruptures and blocks their path with scalding spray. The Gene Hackman character, who is a priest, calls out to God, "I'm not asking for your help, but don't work against us!"

Likewise, the reason Democrats have been unable to enact policies that would benefit all Americans is because they are successfully opposed by Republicans. And as a result, the voters reward those Republicans by putting more and more of them in office. And then they blame the Democrats for not fighting for them.

You acknowledge that Democrats fight for powerless minorities. Your complaint is that "regular working Americans" were not represented among those groups, and therefore, those voters abandoned the Democrats in return. But what, pray tell, do those voters gain by putting Republicans into office? What reason do these folks have for supporting Republicans? Part of the reason Democrats are powerless to implement policies like Medicare For All is that the voters buy the demonization of such policies by the right, and they vote for politicians who will oppose such policies.

To misquote Herman Cain, "If you vote Republican, and you're not rich, blame yourself!"

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

I can barely muster the energy to read your posts any more. They're certainly not worth the effort to cut and paste.

No one thinks bureaucracy exists to serve (the altar of) science. Science is a tool which helps us understand methods of accomplishing goals. For that reason, it's a bad idea to ignore the conclusions presented by science, because that makes it more likely that the mechanisms we try to apply won't work as intended.

Science serves us, not the other way around.

dennisd said...

@Paul451, Larry Hart
Economic Theft: The middle class and working class have born the brunt of 'economic theft' over the past 40 years. Sanders saw this and Trump's followers did as well. But what I don't understand is why anyone would support a candidate like Trump who has specialized in economic theft. Why vote forsomeone who will screw you over 'big league'.

LarryHart said...

dennisd:

what I don't understand is why anyone would support a candidate like Trump who has specialized in economic theft. Why vote forsomeone who will screw you over 'big league'.


I think it's best explained by a line from "Animal House".

"You fucked up. You trusted us."

Slim Moldie said...

Who over the age of 25 is actually doing worse than they were in 2008? And if so...please share the details of the Obama sponsored legislations on which you hang your woes.




David Brin said...

Stunning malarkey! We have a left wing locumranch! “if i were a Koch funded troll i would be encouraging you to push for a New Democratic Sherman's March though the south.”

Utter hypocrisy and deliberate ignoring of every single thing I said. The burden of proof is on you, who demand that we keep doing what has absolutely failed and has played into the hands of the enemies of the republic for 30 years. Your tactic of lying - out right - that I called for violence, is pathetic since the content of my missive was to call to "invade” red America with thousands of retired military officers as viable and somewhat conservative but aggressively grownup and sane candidates for office.

That is EXACTLY what a paid Koch shill like you would oppose and fear and dread. So go ahead and urge us to keep putting our hands out to be bitten off. We’re not listening.

How apropos it is followed by locum’s utter lie: “our host's rather new demand for Civil War Part 2 & federal nullification”

You are an evil liar, sir. Or else a psychotic hallucinator. Actually, I prefer to envision the latter.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

How apropos it is followed by locum’s utter lie: “our host's rather new demand for Civil War Part 2 & federal nullification”


He's talking about states nullifying federal law. Sanctuary cities and such. Which makes us the rebels this time.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" Or else a psychotic hallucinator. "

Now, now, Doctor. If it wasn't for psychotic hallucinators, we wouldn't have the Book of Revelation, or the Book of Mormon, and pretty much every supernatural pantheon on Earth. Life would be ever so boring!

Slim Moldie said...

I would love to be able to resurect Harry Crews and persuade him to write a novel centered around the life of a crotch-funded Troll. "All we need of hell" would be the perfect title...but he already used that one.



matthew said...

Darrell Issa just agreed on Bill Maher that a Special Prosecutor should be appointed to look into Trump and Russia. And that Jeff Sessions needs to recuse himself.

That's significant. Maybe a feint, but it's still a sign.

locumranch said...


Perhaps I misread this, these very words, as David's Call-to-Arms:

"It is over, done. The treason is blatant and open. You are asking me to turn the other cheek a 900th time when the punks slapping us are giggling and relishing our sucker sappy foolishness.

No, they will only respect strength. The Strong Father (Lakoff) is exactly why they voted for Trump, who they openly admit knows nothing and is a nasty person, but they want strong. And they will only end this civil war when we are strong. And they only respect strength that hits back.

You are asking us to lie down and continue to be raped. (We will not) be reasonable for ONE MORE year! We will fight for our republic."

The phrase "We will fight for our republic" appears to be a call for violence, or so it seems to me, but perhaps David only used this phrase to express a pussy-hatted apology, a knuckling-under, an attempt at appeasement or admission of defeat, although I very much doubt it.

As a reactionary rather than a leftist, I say again that our mutual pro-libertarian interests are rather auspiciously aligned with the destruction of the bureaucratic status quo.

Like the letter-carrying Postman of Old, our calcified analog bureaucracy has outlived its usefulness, holding us back, holding us down, and we should cast it into the rubbish heap of history if our digital culture is to evolve beyond technological anachronisms like physical mail, centralised industry, cultural interdependence & stifling global conformity.

Burn it all down, discard the false two-party system, so true freedom can ring once more, in all of its positive & negative connotations. Let a hundred THOUSAND cultures arise from the monoclonal ashes of the Pax Americana singularity.

Remember, also, that bureaucracy is NOT science.


Best

TCB said...

I'm a postman and I'm not holding anybody down.

Good luck getting Fedex to deliver that letter to Cousin Bob in Ketchikan for the price of a donut.

LarryHart said...

Slim Moldie:

I would love to be able to resurect Harry Crews and persuade him to write a novel centered around the life of a crotch-funded Troll.


Was that an auto-correct, or did I miss a meme somewhere? Either way, it's funny.

:)

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

The phrase "We will fight for our republic" appears to be a call for violence,


Not at all. All we need to do is continue to show disdain for President Snow, support the New York Times with our dollars, and be nice to people who the alt-right loves to hate. It will drive them as apoplectic as you become when we say good things about Blue State Progressives or science.


or so it seems to me


That it "seems to you" is not surprising. Just remember that you are always wrong, and everything will make sense.

branding genius said...

David,
Wow, you are a smartypants sleuth because who else but a Koch funded troll would suggest that Democrats run on policies that popular, effective and benefit all Americans. You are right constant references to the civil war is the best way frame liberal goals. And cos playing union soldiers will totally drive conservatives into submission (that is just brilliant use of fashion). Constantly call call republicans stupid, bigoted, traitors and the federal government will be yours. Just run some retired military guys on globalization and obamacare and all will be fine.

Tim H. said...

I hope y'all aren't thinking that somehow the industrial infrastructure that has been broken up, off-shored and razed will ever be coming back, no matter what that man campaigned on, no way back, only forwards, would you willingly choose serfdom? For the greater glory of a fortunate few? In the unlikely hope you might be one of them? Really?

Deuxglass said...

Dr. Brin,

Two or three weeks ago you wrote about how the Democrat Party could use retired colonels in elections in red areas to counteract the absence of the party there. You set out what their basic principles should be and I copied them because I liked what you said. Here they are verbatim:

“Hence, the basic principles should be:

Running as a democrat, I accept and avow that:

- Facts matter. We should find ways to refute lies, from all sides.
- Science is real. Public policy should pay attention to – even if it doesn’t always follow – the advice of folks who know the facts.
- Our children deserve a healthy planet to live in. We can invest in both a clean environment and energy independence.
- No child should have his or her future harshly limited by race, gender or class.
- Schools should be held accountable to high standards of performance, and have the resources to give us an educated generation.
- It’s okay for there to be “winners” in the economy, but not by cheating.
- “Supply Side” experiments in huge tax breaks for the rich have universally failed.
- Government must be open and accountable. Elections must be clear, verifiable and in fair districts.
- Our military must be strong and capable and used responsibly, in carefully considered and adult ways.

(Suggestions welcome for this list.)‬‬‬


Running as a democrat, I feel free to differ with other democrats, and to express my own position on:

- Gun rights. While I do feel there are reasonable ways to reduce gun access by irresponsible people, I fully support gun ownership by American citizens.
- Abortion: people of conscience can disagree over when life begins. But we can all strive to find ways to help women avoid ever facing that decision.
- Nuclear power: many “tech-liberals” are parting company with the standard position against this clean and helpful power source.
- Globalization: we need careful analysis how to keep the benefits of world trade, while ensuring that good jobs stay in America.

If some of these positions make me “conservative” in the older sense of Eisenhower and Reagan, so be it. I am still running as a democrat. Because, to paraphrase president Reagan… “I did not leave the Republican Party… the Republican Party left me.”

You now seem to have dropped the elections part and I hope that I am wrong. What happened to change your mind if it has changed at all? Your rhetoric has turned extremist and I would like to follow your logic in that but please give some reasons that can be backed by rationality.

locumranch said...



Tim H never spoke truer words:

Industrial infrastructure that has been broken up, off-shored and razed will NEVER ever be coming back because it represents an OBSOLETE TECHNOLOGY. Like the Telegraph, NATO, EU, globalism, the Postal Service, Federalism, Centralised Government & its supporting bureaucracies. Like the daily newspaper, buggy whip, 23 Skidoo & the New England Whale Oil schooner. They are all anachronisms. Kiss them all goodbye.

Best

Tim H. said...

You're at least partially correct. Centralizes government and it's baggage will be with us for a while, because the ginormous money that would seek it's demise will not shoulder like responsibilities, the government free libertarian vision bears more than a passing resemblance to the Big Rock Candy Mountain.

Paul451 said...

Slim Moldie said...
"Who over the age of 25 is actually doing worse than they were in 2008?"

This is what I'm talking about.

America has grown enormously richer over the past few decades, but Americans haven't.

Their anger may be misdirected, but if you're being robbed and only one group says they believe you, you're more likely to believe them when they cast blame on someone else and ask for your vote in fighting the scourge.

Jumper said...

Unsure, Paul, but that chart probably does not average in people making $0, so things may be even worse. See decline in average household income, instead:
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/5d/US_real_median_household_income_1967_-_2014.PNG

I lost some prime earning years after the '08 crash. So I'm one.

Victoria Silverwolf said...

". . .the plot of 'The Postman', wherein an aimless drifter (with fraudulent intent) dons the discarded uniform of a low-level government delivery boy, only to be magically transformed into the Guardian of Science, Reason & Federalism."

I can't let this go unanswered, since "The Postman" is an excellent work of art.

Would it not be more accurate to say that the plot involves an aimless drifter who, through the power of common decency and the natural human desire for co-operation and kindness becomes something much more than an aimless drifter; someone who becomes just a little bit better than he was, and who makes the world he lives in just a little bit better than it was?

I don't understand the disdain some feel for the United States Postal Service. They do an incredibly difficult job very well. Doctor Brin could not have chosen a better symbol for the way in which individual acts can lead to great accomplishments.

Tim H. said...

The Post office has got to be one of the better examples of the pitfalls of applying business metaphors to government.

Arizsun Ahola said...

Something that I see pretty often is the claim from Trump voters that Democrats don't care about them, that Democrats only help minorities and leave poor whites to fend for themselves.

This claim is nonsense. Programs that help poor blacks also help poor whites. It is hard to believe that so many people think that laws are written so as that only minorities can receive the benefits. A law so written would be tossed out as unconstitutional extremely rapidly, but it seems to be commonly accepted that laws are applied exactly so.

It is hard for Democrats to profit electorally from the passage of laws that help the poor when poor whites so often seem think such programs are only available to minorities. Frustratingly, these types of claims sometimes even come from poor whites actively using programs they think are only available to minorities simply based on names, using SNAP while complaining that minorities get food stamps and being unaware that SNAP and "food stamps" are the same thing. Liking the ACA but wanting Obamacare repealed is another example.

Very frustrating.

Jumper said...

They do pretty well, considering. I use Amazon more and the postal service does well. It's not as if they don't know how email has redefined their mission. They survive competition. They serve as emergency backup, as exemplified by Brin. (It really is one of the best themes ever.)

Government, like corporations, comprises flawed people. Some people think the fix is rage, sabotage and petulance. I suggest those people are full of bullshit.

Erin Schram said...

David Brin said in the comments,
I have just said we must have a broad tent that includes conservatives! So long as they are modern, logical, scientific and adult.

I asked one of my modern, logical, scientific, adult relatives why he voted for Trump. He said, "I am for pro-life, smaller government, lower taxes, health care that does not drive me into bankruptcy, states rights for local issues, for a balanced budget, legal immigration, energy Independence and many similar issues." Trump's ungodly behavior is irrelevant because he is not a religious leader. Republicans have delivered little on those issues, but he blames all career politicians, Democrat and Republican, for throwing their efforts into keeping power over keeping promises. He is satisfied that Trump is doing what he said he would do, despite disagreeing with some of it. Someone needs to shake up the career politicians.

I was raised in the same attitude, hearing that politics is a dirty business of closed-door deals. My family paid little attention to politics, so sound bites were taken at face value. Government employment changed my mind. I studied the regulations and saw that Congress and their staff put a lot of thought into everyday laws, with some good ideas suggested by advocacy groups. Hillary Clinton fit the stereotype of the wheeler-dealer politician. Donald Trump did not.

David Brin said,
Sure, mobilizing the left better will be useful. But even if we ignore the fringe’s flighty unreliability and capriciousness, there is the simple fact that there is very littl low hanging fruit to be plucked in that direction. ... If we can lure them [conservatives] back into realizing that there are other versions of “conservatism,” then the monsters and oligarch-feudalists might lose their grip.
Thus, the proper mobilization is not to print the liberals to the polls to vote; rather, it is to engage their Republican friends that they need to work together to address America's real problems? My relative listed affordable health care and energy independence, but I could use some good arguments to convince him that he needs to elect candidates who will build rather than destroy. Any ideas?

And rather than painting evangelical Christians as a lost cause, which tars all Christians with the same brush, we could point out that the Jesus Christ told us to help the poor, regardless of whether they deserve help or not. The Bible is full of stories of good immigrants, such as the Book of Ruth. My relative said that Christianity does not demand that we be nice to illegal immigrants. Yet the news is currently full of stories of treating vetted visa holders and permanent residents as harshly as people who sneaked over the border. Perhaps those stories will enlighten him to our hypocracy about immigration.

Erin Schram said...

branding genius said,
What am I asking?
I am asking that you not frame our current political problems as a continuation of the Civil War.


I am reading "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander. In chapter 1, The Rebirth of Caste, she points out (page 33) that one strong radical movement after the Civil War was poor blacks and poor whites uniting together to throw off the yoke of control by the wealthy elite. "Alarmed by the success of the Populists and the apparent potency of the alliance between poor and working-class whites and African-Americans, the conservatives raised the cry of white supremacy and resorted to the tactics ... fraud, intimidation, bribery, and terror." The Populist leaders gave in and abandoned their black support, even though that reduced their political power.

branding genius said,
But over the last 30 or so years we got the New Democrats
they fight for black folks
they fight for gay folks
they fight for abortion
they fight for the poor
they fought for globalization
but for the ordinary working men and women? all we got was shitty mandatory for profit insurance aka obamacare.


That propaganda about the Democrats serving only narrow special interests than us working-class and professional-class whites is the same divisive post-Civil War tactics. Proper help to some groups can help us all. Protecting black folks from reckless police trains the police to treat us all better. Extending marriage to gay folks defuses petty meanness and creates polite society. Safety nets for the poor protects those of us who lose our jobs (I was illegally fired for illness, but one of the safety nets let me retire early instead). Globalization can lead to a more efficient economy.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

America has grown enormously richer over the past few decades, but Americans haven't.


Republicans don't think there's anything wrong with that. They don't believe there is such thing as a "wealthy nation". The wealth belongs to the few individuals who possess it. If others are poor, it's because they aren't valuable to the possessors of the wealth, or because they haven't worked hard enough at taking that wealth from its possessors. Wealth disparity is not a problem to be fixed, but the natural order of things.


Their anger may be misdirected, but if you're being robbed and only one group says they believe you, you're more likely to believe them when they cast blame on someone else and ask for your vote in fighting the scourge.


The one who says they believe you knows you are being robbed because their hand is right there in your pocket. You're probably correct that the other group didn't do a good enough job of pointing out the hand in your pocket, but really, are we that dependent on official sources of fact that if Democrats don't tell us that Republicans rob us, then we don't know it?

Both sides have incentives to spin. Making them compete for credulity is probably a good idea, but discerning the truth is not just a matter of deciding which political party we trust more. If we can't know something unless one or the other campaign tells us, then we might as well start breeding fish and preparing for death, because the republic has nothing for us.

LarryHart said...

Victoria Silverwolf:

I can't let this go unanswered, since "The Postman" is an excellent work of art.


Locumranch uses words differently from the way from the way the rest of us do.

LarryHart said...

Arizsun Ahola:

This claim is nonsense. Programs that help poor blacks also help poor whites. It is hard to believe that so many people think that laws are written so as that only minorities can receive the benefits. A law so written would be tossed out as unconstitutional extremely rapidly, but it seems to be commonly accepted that laws are applied exactly so.


That's why they hate Obamacare. It's a giveaway to blacks as reparations for slavery.

Seriously, this is what we're up against.

TCB said...

LarryHart sez:

"You're probably correct that the other group didn't do a good enough job of pointing out the hand in your pocket, but really, are we that dependent on official sources of fact that if Democrats don't tell us that Republicans rob us, then we don't know it?"

Pericles said, "If the truth were really self-evident, then eloquence would not be necessary."

Arizsun Ahola said...

The thief was pointed out to them, but they chose to believe the thief rather than Hillary because the thief said she was a liar.

LarryHart said...

...or for fans of The Simpsons...

They couldn't vote for Mayor Quimby because he was so soft on crime that he even let Sideshow Bob out of prison early. So instead, they voted for his opponent--Sideshow Bob.

LarryHart said...

Arizsun Ahola:

The thief was pointed out to them, but they chose to believe the thief rather than Hillary because the thief said she was a liar.


Because the thief said "Believe me!"

Emphasis makes it true.

Remember that quip about sincerity, how "If you can fake that, you've got it made"? That's what Trump does. And the thing is, he's not even very good at it. The ones who are fooled by his affected sincerity must desperately want to be taken in by his particular promises, because they willfully ignore many facial and vocal cues which just scream, "I don't mean what I say. I don't even really know what I'm saying. But don't you just want to be on my side?"

With this latest charge that any media reports he doesn't like are "FAKE NEWS!!!", President Snow is essentially making it a condition of fealty that one believes him rather than one's lying eyes (or ears, or brain). This sophont is dangerous!

LarryHart said...

Just look at the expression on his face and the tone of his vocal emphasis when he says "...unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there." at about 1:31 into this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u0ByV95m8PE

He's not saying that named sources will be more credible than unnamed sources. He's salivating at the prospect of what he and his lawyers and his brownshirts would be able to do to those named sources if they dared to provide information he didn't want public. And he's not slipping this past his supporters either--they know exactly what he means, and they gleefully approve the prospect of future lynch mobs against informers, secure in the knowledge that they themselves would never be on the receiving end of such abuses of power.

This sophont is dangerous! I'd make that a hashtag if anyone other than David Brin readers would understand the reference.

LarryHart said...

We're not quite dead yet.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/delaware-special-senate-election_us_58b22659e4b060480e089560


In the most expensive special election in Delaware history ― a contest to decide which party controls the state Senate ― Democrat Stephanie Hansen was on track to annihilate her Republican rival on the back of extraordinary turnout.

The last time her opponent, John Marino, ran in this district, in 2014, he lost by just 2 points. Hansen’s 58-42 percent victory over Marino on Saturday ensured that Democrats will maintain control of the state Senate. It also notched a big Donald Trump-era win for a new generation of Democratic activists shocked into action by the November election.

“We turned back that win from Washington and made sure it won’t hit Delaware,” Hansen said in her victory speech Saturday night.