Monday, March 06, 2017

Which crisis will we face next?

All right, here is the danger I fear most right now. The heads of four world powers desperately fear democracy in their own nations. All four want to trigger war between the United States and Iran.

A while back, I did a round-up regarding international affairs and their calamitous bungling, in recent weeks. But I left you with the impression that war with Iran might happen because of “stumbling,” as described here in The Atlantic. But in fact, things are far worse. It appears that a confluence of pivotal world leaders want  this to happen. 

Are these four nations all enemies of the U.S.? Heck no. One of them is an “ally” - Saudi Arabia. Another is best pals with our president - Russia’s Putin regime. The other two may shock you. They are the United States and Iran.

Both Donald Trump and the Iranian mullahs know that time is not on their side. Their people tire of them, daily. Hence, both of them try pumping up support through fear — of “terrorism” or “Satanic American meddling.” 

But eight years of almost-perfect safety, under Obama, has made paranoiac fear very hard to push, outside their fanatical base. Both Trump and the mullahs would benefit - domestically - from some kind of crisis — war, or a “Reichstag fire” — to reverse their slide.

The Saudi position is even simpler — and more shortsighted. They rightfully fear the rise of a Shia empire, arcing through Syria and Iraq and Iran to Bahrain and their own non-Sunni coast. But they believe rattling sabers and even hurling bombs will prevent this, even though such things have only strengthened the Ayatollahs, every single time. And in the event of a major conflict, the Persian regime will just cling for protection to their next door neighbor — nuclear armed Russia, sealing their nascent alliance.

Hence, of the four, the only one wanting an Iran-U.S. War for clever reasons is, of course, Vladimir Putin.  And well, we all know about his puppet strings to you-know-who.

Find all this implausible? Look at the foreign affairs team appointed by Trump, from Tillerson and Bannon on down. Every single one of them has called for confrontation with Iran, which would only undercut the democracy movements  among Tehran’s rising middle class. There are no exceptions. Every… single… one of Trump’s people have spoken glowingly of struggle with “Iran,” ignoring the fact that a majority of its people want to join the modern world.

Of course there is a final ingredient -- removing Iranian oil from world supply would instantly boost prices for... well, guess whom.

You can see this in the recent Travel Ban, which fiercely clamped on not just Iran (which - despite a lot of noise - has done us very little tangible harm, since 1980) but also our supposed best Shia ally — Iraq.  Moreover, there was word recently that the Trump Administration wanted to fire at an Iranian military skiff near Yemen, but was stopped by cooler heads. Only, what if the mullahs order more skiffs to charge ever closer? How long before we see some sort of Gulf of Tonkin incident, that serves the interest of both sets of rulers?

And no, forget this ramping up into something truly conflagration-level. Sure, Trump and Putin might like that, for their own reasons.  (Trump because he is a Republican, and Republicans like gaudy styles of war.

But that is where both the mullahs and the Saudi royals might balk. Certainly the Israelis, who know that Tehran already has a bomb. And they know where it's aimed.

== Which battle will Republicans choose? ==

A House committee voted on Tuesday to eliminate an independent election commission charged with helping states improve their voting systems as President Donald Trump erroneously claims widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote. Let's be clear on this.  The EAC is the only force currently thwarting efforts to rig every voting machine in red states. (Blue states nearly all have paper ballot receipts that can be audited, limiting cheating.) 

There is no other conceivable reason to eliminate a voting-fraud-preventing agency that costs next to nothing, in a year when everyone is screaming about "voter fraud." The reason is simple.  The GOP intends to do even more election fraud.  It is a matter of survival.

Meanwhile, the president endorsed civil asset forfeiture, which lets police seize even innocent people’s property.  Hey libertarians!  Add this to the one hundred ways that Republicans are vastly, vastly worse than democrats for freedom. And any libertarian who chooses the GOP as his "hold my nose" choice or lesser of two weevils, is an utter dunce and traitor to Adam Smith.

== AH, hate Obamacare much? ==

"For seven years, opponents of the Affordable Care Act vowed to make its repeal their top concern, warning that the law would turn America overnight into a socialist dystopia. Now these opponents have unfettered control of the government and they aren’t even talking about repealing," reports Dana Millbank in The Washington Post

Seriously? Seven years railing it was work of satan. (In fact Obama crafted it after Romney-care/Heritage Care and the GOP's own platform, hoping they'd react with gratitude.) Seven years screeching and demanding immediate cancelation and replacement. Seven years they could have offered an alternative! Seven years you dopes have swallowed this koolaid...

... and now the max they are talking about is (1) tweaking a few fixes the dems were eager to negotiate, and (2) changing a lot of the names of things! Renaming the program and its parts. And you dopes will swallow that. You'll swallow anything you're told.

BTW... see here why GOPpers actually think that names matter more than substance.

== Disturbing Miscellany ==

Hayley Miller reports that despite the Trump administration’s renewed focus on fossil fuels, a new Pew poll says two-thirds of Americans favor a path to a renewable energy future. Writing from Hong Kong, Li Jing reports that Chinese officials say they are prepared “to take a leadership role” in defending the Paris climate accord no matter what the new Trump administration decides to do.  

Combat readiness — I've long pointed out that it plummeted for the US military under both Bushes and raised up to almost 100% under Clinton and Obama. One member of this blog community reported: "There are elaborate systems that track readiness: SORTS and DRRS.  When I was reporting for my unit, it was on a classified system, and we would evaluate our ability to conduct our mission vs our 'Designed Operational Capability (DOC) statement'...usually we had minimum number of qualified and current personnel and mission capable equipment.  If we were good to go, we were "C1" if not, we might be marginal or some degradation "C2", but always tried to avoid not mission capable "C3" or worse C4."

 Definitions: Department of Defense Readiness Reporting System (DRRS), improved upon by Status of Resources and Training System (SORTS).

Candidate Donald Trump was a big fan of leaks, especially when they targeted Hillary Clinton and reports of her deleted emails.  "Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said last July in Florida. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."  

Now in the White House less than a month, President Trump is far less enthusiastic about leaks in general, and those involving Russia in particular.

Is Ohio Governor John Kasich gearing up for a primary run against Donald Trump in 2020, as this article suggests?  Or is something more immediate and bold afoot?  Someone report here if you notice Kasich meeting with McCain, Murkowski, Portman, Collins, Graham and others.  It’s too soon. But something bigger may be back-burner simmering.

Evan McMullen tried, hard, to help the folk of Utah to spurn the recent collapse of American conservatism. Had they listened, they might have escaped direct, shared responsibility for this calamity, instead of lining up with the most opposite-to-Jesus set of leaders America has ever seen. Well, McMullen and his minority of followers continue to stand up. They might seed a new American conservatism – an adult kind – to rise from the coming ashes.
Trump makes false statements about U.S. murder rate to sheriffs’ group. The president claimed the country’s murder rate is the highest it’s been in 45 to 47 years. But the rate actually is almost at its lowest point, according to the FBI.  You who are complicit and making excuses for this.  You are flirting with madness and riding a rabid tiger.

Meanwhile (same day) -- Open-carry advocates walked into a police station with a loaded rifle. Officers were not amused. Seriously, after declaring open war on the US Military and Intelligence officer corps, now the alt-right is doing everything in its power to bully police.  Seriously? You had those conservative-by-personality clades safely republican, some years ago.  Now the cops & spooks and generals are fleeing, like every single other knowledge and fact-based profession.

‘“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.’  So goes the anecdote told by Ronald Radosh on The Daily Beast, about President Donald Trump’s Rasputin. ‘“Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.’

== North vs South ==

Having a blog community can be handy.  One of my commenters (and I have the best)  went and appraised how many cabinet members recent presidents have chosen from states on which side of the Civil War.

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

Reagan’s was the most tilted in favor of the Union, followed by Obama. 

Trump’s is by-far the most tilted toward former Confederate states.

See Trump’s cabinet, with C for confederate state, U for union state, W for western state (not admitted in 1865):

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

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

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

Probability that a randomly chosen Cabinet member would be from:
* the Union: (177/323.5) = 54.7%
* the Confederacy: (113/323.5) = 34.9%
* the West: (33.5/323.5) = 10.3%

Probability that a randomly chosen Cabinet would contain:
4 or fewer Union denizens: CDF(binomial, 15, 0.547, 4) = 2.7%
9 or more Confederate denizens: 1 - CDF(binomial, 15, 0.349, 9) = 1.2%

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

Of course there are quibbles.  Indiana long ago stopped being for the Union and Virginia is ditching Dixie. Many Western states are confederate hotbeds.  Still….

== Ask... Demand ... they define when America was Great! ==

The struggle for our civilization will be a long and complicated one, especially as our greatest weapons – facts – have been undermined with clever - though ancient - appeals to tribalism. It appears we shall have to slog through refutation after refutation. 

Ironically, you can refute the current “everybody knows that” poisons with even stronger things that “everybody knows.”

Take the nostrum: “Make America Great Again.” I do not recall even a single Democratic pol, or sage pundit, or reporter ever asking – even once – “WHEN was America’s iconic moment of greatness?”

Of course one reflexive answer is obvious – the halcyon 1950s of “Happy Days.” Only notice that it’s never actually said, in order to avoid the unfavorable comparisons that I make here:  Was 1957 America Better Than Today?  

In fact, you get nowhere by denigrating the 1950s.  

What’s vastly more effective is to lead these nostalgic folks out onto a limb, getting them to express admiration for the “Greatest Generation” that endured a depression, crushed Hitler, contained Stalinism, went to the Moon, spanned the continent with infrastructure and universities, and built a market economy so strong and rich that we could then afford to take on a myriad old sins, like poverty, racism, sexism and planetary neglect.

Do the Greatest Generationers deserve our gratitude and respect? Sure! Might they have been better and greater than their boomer children? Well, sure… maybe… though that insults them as having been poor parents.  Still, yes, those men and women of the Greatest Generation truly were great! 

Only, didn’t they achieve all those mighty things at high tax rates on the rich? And with fierce regulation of banks and monopolies?

Weren’t all those mighty accomplishments of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s achieved with strong labor unions? With intense national respect for teachers and scientists? Wasn’t that when the most trusted American was a journalist (Edward R. Murrow, followed by Walter Cronkite), the most admired was a scientist (Jonas Salk), and the most beloved – by far – was Franklin Delano Roosevelt?

Given that not a single promise ever made by Supply Side Economics ever once came true, is the prescription for making America Great again truly to reverse every single thing that the Greatest generation did and believed in? 

Hey, just askin’

 == Wrapping up...==

Okay, some tactics should be beneath us. Still, one can get a chuckle out of this site that will connect you by phone to some Trump business venture, around the world, so you can do what foreign leaders and oligarchs already can do… talk policy through the back door of DT’s businesses.  

According to a classified FBI counterterrorism policy guide obtained by The Intercept, “white supremacists and other domestic extremists” have been joining law enforcement agencies across the United States.

Counter-factual drivel abounds: "Unlike his predecessors, Trump is serious about winning. To do so, he is even willing to take the radical step of accepting Israel as an ally." See where I long ago discussed how Republicans and Democrats wage war.

The Turkish Parliament passed constitutional amendments last weekend that could allow President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to amass unprecedented power. 

Let me tell you what is coming. After the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, you may win Southern independence if God be not against you, but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of states rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction, they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South." 

-- Sam Houston, denouncing the Texas convention’s decision to secede, in 1861.

116 comments:

sociotard said...

From the last thread:
Now all pretense is dropped, as the Trumpists slash NOAA and every other agency doing climate research, while ordering NASA never again to look downward at our home planet.  

Dr. Brin, do you think Governor Brown will make good on his threat to have California "launch its own damn satellite"?

I mean even a big state like California has to be careful with its money. $150 million doesn't come easy.

And designing, building, and launching the thing is the easy part. Then you have to pay people to operate them and, most importantly, interpret the data.

Can California do this? Do you expect it will? (Or maybe a coalition of Blue States?)

David Brin said...

Sociotard, a bigger bolder move would be to invite a consortium of states to share costs for such a project... say to make the satellites... and demand that NASA launch them or at least lease launch facilities.

matthew said...

OK Doc, gotta call you out on one - Where in hell did you hear that Tehran already has an atomic bomb? Verifiable sources or label it as a supposition, because I've never seen that wild claim before.

Greg Hullender said...

Or just hire SpaceX to do it.

other said...

And it seems that Israel is also all gung ho for the US to fight the Iranians for them.

The Israelis seem to have made common cause with the radical republicans, I wonder how much longer will Democrats keep supporting them?

sociotard said...

Or just hire SpaceX to do it. that'd be the smart way to do the launch. Leave the feds completely out of the loop. That just leaves the design, construction, and support. Again, non-trivial challenges.

Treebeard said...

I've been visiting a very red state recently and coming from a deep blue state it's great. People carry around weapons without restrictions, there aren't masses of muslims and other immigrants transforming the society without the natives' consent, PC is laughed at and transgressed at every opportunity, the coastal media are despised and ignored, and in general, people just want to enjoy their constitutional freedoms instead of watching them be eroded by coastal busy-bodies and progressive soft totalitarians.

The stereotypes about red state fundamentalism are LIES. People here believe in the constitution, whereas in my experience, blue states believe in bending the constitution whenever possible to push their radical agenda. So it's a breath a fresh air; it feels like I'm in the real America, rather than some increasingly alien coastal civilization that has inverted, subverted and perverted our traditions and is slowly strangling our freedoms.

Go ahead and secede blue-staters, you will not be missed! And to my old friends in Seattle: hey prog-queers, enjoy the 100k Muslims and Africans that have flooded into your area; I'm sure that's gonna turn out just great for you guys. LOOOL...

donzelion said...

Zepp: re AI (and AI-G, or AI-g)

"AI would be fallible"

No more or less fallible than the humans doing the same thing! The mere fact that a thing becomes possible with lots of computing firepower behind it does not necessarily make it more (or less) dangerous. Just something to bear in mind: folks naturally fixate on what Google, FB, the Pentagon, or other well-known government agencies or corporate players are up to. The big money is moving through these private systems that link directly to public/private systems like the Fed - and which transact in the quadrillions in various sorts of derivatives. Those numbers grow each year (well, except for 2008).

"Would we have vast economic meltdowns in which trillions of dollars vanished and then reappeared five second later, or would we just have Great Depressions every other year?"
I expect more of the former - micro-meltdowns that occur in between nanoseconds, then get 'corrected.' I do NOT see 'Great Depressions' arising simply because AI (whether generally sentient, partially sentient, or whatever other standards one applies to them) are calculating the 'proper' trades - there'd have to be many other factors in play.

BUT if AI became fully sentient and disinterested in human well-being...well, they could wreck the global economy more easily than they could launch nuclear missiles. But trading in goods and services has its own sort of fail-safes. More likely, AI would wipe out a number of 'paper billionaires' - leaving the power turned on, I should think.

donzelion said...

Marino: while I agree that humans will always retain competition as a crucial drive (procreation, among other central human actions, requires it), my thinking about 'scarcity' is a deeply pessimistic view of power at work in human society.

"Imagine I have access not just at consumer goods (the usual image of post-scarcity) but at means of production (they may be a large set of DIY tools or some kind of timesharing access to automated factory/universal replicator), I'd probably like to make stuff like dresses, or car bodies, or simply art, either with my own work or by sending a file to the factory."
But the inputs into the means of production can be controlled. Indeed, land itself is a key piece in production - and is inherently 'scarce.' Sure, you might make dresses, novels, scores, et. al. somewhere - but if you're doing it in some ghastly location no one wants to live, scarcity regimes will still apply.

"no one would end up broke and starving when he "loses".
If one dressmaker, playing cruelly, can ultimately exile you to produce the most beautiful garments/novels/etc. ever made from Ghastlyville, in the State of Dystopia - then scarcity will still apply.

Susan Watson said...

I also think Israel should be added to the Iran-war-want list.

Treebeard said...

BTW, I know you've got a hard-on to re-fight the Civil War and burn the South to the ground, but I don't think it will be necessary. People are sorting themselves out geographically, so those who want to be part of the blue utopia will move there, those who prefer red ways will move there, until they go their separate ways naturally. It will be an organic process -- maybe a slow version of India and Pakistan but not nearly as nasty. Like they say, no army can stop an idea whose time as come. Surely America is not sustainable in its present condition, where half the country despises the other half's leader and thinks he's illegitimate. The reaction to Trump shows that blue-staters have this mentality at least as much as the other side. So think divorce for irreconcilable differences and give up your fantasies of conquest. The question is, can American prog ideologues like you, whose imperial arrogance is known and despised the world over, ever peacefully accept that their world domination project is over, even here in their own backyard?

donzelion said...

Treebeard: "Go ahead and secede blue-staters, you will not be missed!"

Since I'm personally responsible for bringing one of those African Muslim queers into Seattle, you can guess my views. He's a very good tailor. Seattle now has one tailor offering services less expensively with better training than a red state. Get enough of them, and at least they'll e better dressed in Seattle than in your red states.

Still, the objectionable tone of your claim calls to mind Monty Python, 'Life of Brian' - "What'd the Romans ever do for us?" Damn aqueducts. Damn sanitation. Damn roads. Damn computers.

Carl M. said...

The South...isn't.

After air conditioning became ubiquitous, a flood of northerners moved down south. The demographics have been significantly altered since I was a child.

It could be the case that many who moved south did so because they didn't like the liberalism of the north -- ergo the conservatism.

Treebeard said...

Rome fell despite their tailors. Mass migrations, terrorist slaughters in the streets of their cities and all that. We'll take our chances without your tailors. When rootless elites decide the natives have no special privileges over cheaper labor from distant lands, they tend to get swept into the sea. And the professional classes who side with such elites against the less privileged natives don't fare much better. This is where we're at in the historical cycle. No one is to blame and there's no solution; it's just a predicament to deal with. Me, I'm probably going to relocate to a saner place in Red America.

LarryHart said...

Dr. Brin in the main post:

Trump makes false statements about U.S. murder rate to sheriffs’ group. The president claimed the country’s murder rate is the highest it’s been in 45 to 47 years. But the rate actually is almost at its lowest point, according to the FBI.


I think there's a grain of truth that this claim builds on. For several decades, the number of murders has gone down every year. In 2016, the number was higher than in 2015. It's still way lower than it was when the down trend began, but the slope of the curb went up for the first time in howevermany years. Before that, it was negative. So that slope, which can technically be referred to as a "rate", is the highest it has been in howevermany years.

I'm probably giving #SoCalledPresident too much credit for understanding that, but I'll bet someone in some right-wing think tank told him that the "rate of increase" was the highest it's been in howevermany years, and he thought that meant the same thing as the "murder rate".

Jon S. said...

So, the GOP has finally unveiled part of their proposed health-care plan - the one they apparently want to vote on in two days' time.

Subsidies are replaced with tax credits, a wonderful idea for those who make enough money to actually pay taxes in the thousands of dollars per year. It proposes drastic cuts to the Medicaid expansion, leading to a practical elimination of the entire program. And if, for whatever reason, you can't pay the increased plan rates (for certain caps would be removed), you would not face any tax penalty - but there would be a 30% increase in rate fees when you try to get insurance again.

If you're broke, like me, the GOP wants you to die because you're not a productive citizen. And for the first time in my adult life, it feels like those people have such a strong hand that I might as well go along with it.

LarryHart said...

Ideally, Treebeard is correct (and who thought I'd ever put those words in that order). Tolerant America should move to states with laws that they like, such as California, New York, or Illinois, and Deplorable America can move to South Buttfuckia or whatever White States will take them in, where they can enjoy shooting and buggering each other to their hearts' content. A win-win.

Revolutionary activity would only become necessary if (when) the less populated but more numerous White States use their advantage in the Electoral College and Congress to interfere in the lawful activities of the Blue states.

It's a shame, especially for a "Hamilton" fan, to watch America as an ideal die before our eyes (to thunderous applause), but it's becoming increasingly obvious that a large percentage of my fellow countrymen want to Make America Suck Again. Godspeed to them, but leave me out of it.

Tony Fisk said...

Maybe I misread, but it seemed to me that he who was made in mockery of ents signed off with an appropriate 'DROOOL'. Live the dream, TB.

I've heard this new deal referred to as 'AHCA' (is it contagious?), and 'TrumpCare' ('Trumpscare'?). As it will foreseeably lead to avoidable deaths, I call it a conspiracy to mass murder. So what should we call this new crime without a name? Demogracide?

Chris Heinz said...

I am always happy to remind people wanting to go back to the 50s and Ike (the last great Republican president) that yes, we should absolutely restore the 92% punitive top income tax rates that were there under Ike. It would do wonders for our inequality problem.

locumranch said...


Assuming that David is correct about those who would benefit from an Iranian-US Conflict, there is only one sensible course of action for the USA: A complete & unilateral withdrawal from the Middle East Arena.

Leave the 'Let's you & him fight' contingent to their own devices; let them hoist themselves on their own petards; allow them to luxuriate in the malevolent consequences of their own actions; and embrace the isolationism advocated by the Trumpster.

For without US intervention, a Persian Iran will walk through the Middle East as if it was wearing thousand league boots, crushing the Sunni Nations like bugs, absorbing Iraq, seizing Kuwaiti oil fields, enslaving the House of Saud & pacifying the Muslim Brotherhood, so much so that peace will come to a region that has only know war for thousands of years.

Israel will stand firm, well-fortified & secure within its own nuclear Masada of mutually assured destruction; Arab tribesman will flee & renounce their claims to a gerrymandered Palestine; and NATO will be no more. The Russian Federation will move west (impeded only by the death of Putin); Turkey will fragment; the Lands of Scandia will secede from the EU; a diminished commonwealth, composed only of Franco-Prussia & points south will fall under the resulting wave of (Turkish; Sunni; African) refugees; Africa will persist as is (c'est dommage); and the fate of Asia & Australia will be too unpleasant to contemplate.

And, the USA will endure, a heartland of homogeneity, secured by concentric militarised borders, as an acidified sea laps over its failed blue multicultural margins.

A strange game this Pax America: "The only winning move is not to play".


Best
____
A new Pew poll says two-thirds of Americans favour all sorts of cool FREE stuff, but most Americans (by the same two-thirds majority) refuse to pay for any of it. Gimmie gimmie gimmie.

Anonymous said...


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

Marino said...

I've been visiting a very red state recently and coming from a deep blue state it's great. People carry around weapons without restrictions, there aren't masses of muslims and other immigrants transforming the society without the natives' consent, PC is laughed at and transgressed at every opportunity, the coastal media are despised and ignored

translated into plain English for a nonnative speaker like me: "a place full of gun-toting bigots where I'd feel safe inside an APC with unlimited ammo and while being capable to call for support air strikes".

No, really, the tone sounds a lot like those Communist fellow travelers who came back from USSR in the '30s praising it being the future...

Btw, a Pakistan-style partition of the US? a good trigger for WW3, as it would lead to a collapse of the world order. Reason why I wish for Putin a "terminal Lubianka headache" delivered by any kind of sidearm the FSB has currently in use. The guy is smart, ruthless...and a total, complete long-term idiot. Destabilizing the world order would ensure just short-term advantages for anyone involved, leading to "the piecemeal WW3" the Pope spoke about.

Given that someone said that this beginning of 21. century seems something from RAH's crazy years, or something written by a sci-fi writer... maybe we're living in a new edition of David Weber's The Apocalyps Troll. The Shirmaksu/Kanga war machine has already landed and is using its psi powers to select and influence followers among the people and the human leaders in order to enslave and exterminate humanity in the most nastiest way, out of sheer hatred... http://www.baen.com/chapters/troll_8.htm for its mindset.
And probably it should have landed in a place where it can influnce locum and the ent.

reason said...

Tony Fisk
Paul Krugman called it trumpdoesn'tcare.

LarryHart said...

Tony Fisk:

I've heard this new deal referred to as 'AHCA' (is it contagious?),


I don't get it.

and 'TrumpCare' ('Trumpscare'?).


I suppose that it can follow the usage of "Pet'Smart", and "Trump'Scare" would be appropriate.

As it will foreseeably lead to avoidable deaths, I call it a conspiracy to mass murder. So what should we call this new crime without a name? Demogracide?


Too early in the morning for the brain cells that perform clever wordplay. But as someone pointed out on Stephanie Miller's radio show, the only principle this administration seems to embody at this point is needless cruelty.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

A new Pew poll says two-thirds of Americans favour all sorts of cool FREE stuff, but most Americans (by the same two-thirds majority) refuse to pay for any of it


Well, duh! If you pay for it, it's not free.

reason said...

Larry Hart,
the real comeback to that bit from locumranch about the poll is "I want to want who the one-third who aren't in favor are!" If you ask a dumb question, get a dumb answer.

Carl M. said...

@Chris: The 92% rate applied to earned income. It clobbered movie stars and rock musicians. If you already had money there were huge dodges available. The capital gains rate was only 25%. And there was the option of buying tax free municipal bonds. (Need to look up what the rates were back then. Were they only 8% of what the taxable market provided?...)

George Carty said...

Surely the really heavy tax rates should be applied to rental incomes from non-replicable assets (valuable urban locations, natural resources, landing slots at airports, broadcasting frequencies) rather than earned income?

Robert said...

A companion to the Sam Houston quote:

I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.

- Admiral Yamamoto, after Pearl harbor.

Robert said...

Bob Pfeiffer

locumranch said...



LarryH called this a few threads back:

He argued that Progressives are glass half-full optimists who "think life is supposed to be a good experience, and that when it is not, that is a problem to be solved". He also argued that Conservatives are glass half-empty pessimists who "think life is supposed to suck (...), and that when life is too pleasant, that is a problem to be solved".

What he fails to acknowledge, however, is that both the 'half-full' & 'half-empty' perspectives are each valid & correct descriptives of the empiric reality of a 1 to 1 ratio. Both perspectives are VALID, so much so that to reject the opposing view is to deny almost half of what represents objective reality.

LarryH deserves some credit for his insight. Except for his use of the SUPPOSED TO construction (which signifies bias, prejudice & personal desire), that is.

For an individual like Larry/David to assert that objective reality should, ought or "is supposed to" conform to their desired perspective, this is a fantastic act of reality-denying arrogance.

You Larry/David style optimists should really try to Control Your Enthusiasm if you wish to embrace scientific empiricism.


Best
_____
By all means, GeorgeC, let's tax 'urban locations' to death in order to incentivise the red rural pessimism & lifestyle. Let's give it to those urban optimists good & hard, as payback for all those years of their soft economic bigotry, until they experience the pessimistic perspective that they awakened in us.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

LarryH called this a few threads back:


Uh-oh. Help me, Jesus.

He argued that Progressives are glass half-full optimists who "think life is supposed to be a good experience, and that when it is not, that is a problem to be solved". He also argued that Conservatives are glass half-empty pessimists who "think life is supposed to suck (...), and that when life is too pleasant, that is a problem to be solved".

What he fails to acknowledge, however, is that both the 'half-full' & 'half-empty' perspectives are each valid & correct descriptives of the empiric reality of a 1 to 1 ratio. Both perspectives are VALID, so much so that to reject the opposing view is to deny almost half of what represents objective reality.


How "fails to acknkowldge"?

LarryH deserves some credit for his insight. Except for his use of the SUPPOSED TO construction (which signifies bias, prejudice & personal desire), that is.


The "supposed to" is part of the description of each side's world view.


For an individual like Larry/David


You don't find that a funny turn of phrase? I do. :)

to assert that objective reality should, ought or "is supposed to" conform to their desired perspective, this is a fantastic act of reality-denying arrogance.


Reading comprehension much?

Seriously, I'm not sure what you're dinging me for. I described two world views, each of which contains a sense of what life should be like, and what conditions they would take action to respond to. Doesn't any political point of view contain an explicit or implicit "should"? How would law and government be structured without that?


You Larry/David style optimists should really try to Control Your Enthusiasm if you wish to embrace scientific empiricism.


You really see optimism in me? What gives that impression?


By all means, GeorgeC, let's tax 'urban locations' to death in order to incentivise the red rural pessimism & lifestyle. Let's give it to those urban optimists good & hard, as payback for all those years of their soft economic bigotry, until they experience the pessimistic perspective that they awakened in us.


Please explain the difference between "should" and "Let's". I suppose you're just making a suggestion rather than claiming that the suggestion is better than any other random suggestion such as "Let's get pistachio ice cream," or "Let's spell words the way Canadians do." However you phrase it, you're tying to say that certain ideas are good ones. What's the difference between that and "should"?

donzelion said...

Re Iran: Dr. Brin sees power calculations at work. No one points out the far simpler economic calculations for war with Iran that drive the businessmen.

Certain Americans will profit immensely from an Iran-America War. From North Dakota to Texas, all those oil shale holdings that have been suffering the last 3 years will finally turn a profit again, if oil jumps past $100/barrel. Coal will become profitable as well at some point, helping coal mine operators (far more than the coal miners themselves).

Russia is running a deficit unless oil surges well past $100/barrel. Saudi Arabia runs a deficit unless oil surges past about $70-80 a barrel. Their interests are quite simple.

The only ways to cause oil price to leap, short run, are to find new markets (unlikely: China is saturated, and India favors coal) to increase demand OR to find new ways to restrict supply.

The whole notion of a 'Shia dominated arc' is a tragic joke. The last time Shia dominated a large swath of the Middle East (outside Iran), they founded universities, and led to an intellectual rivalry with Baghdad v Cairo (up until Saladin brought an end to it). Hardly a threat.

But to Netanyahu, it's an incredibly useful threat. The Palestinians pose a threat to the core values of a Jewish state: does Judaism require a neo-apartheid structure? Or a reversion to ancient ethnic cleansing? To the extent he can focus eyes that should know better on the Iranian threat, he can defer addressing the much more pressing danger at home - that people rise up to challenge the ethno-nationalism he bandies about to keep himself and his cronies in power without confronting the price it presents for Israelis of good conscience.

China, meanwhile, sees an Iran war as a different sort of threat: oil price hiked could hurt their industrial power and cause tens/hundreds of millions to lose work. They're not positioned to intervene, but will consider such positioning mainly to protect themselves from that sort of internal dissension.

The Entwives said...

@ Treebeard.

Good luck finding us in a red state.
(We won't enable your bad habits)
#Addiction&LordOfThrRings

David S said...

Larry,
Gun deaths statistics are already being reported as a rate -- deaths per year.
So what you are referring to is the rate of change in a rate; in other words an acceleration. Are you aware of a graph that shows the rate over time? I'd like to apply David Brin's second derivative test to determine when the concavity of the graph changed (like he does when looking at deficits over time).

Right now, I'm reading George Lakoff's The ALL NEW Don't Think of an Elephant! and how framing of the strong father vs nurturer parent explain the difference between conservative and progressive world views. George's site is https://georgelakoff.com/


LarryHart said...

@David S,

Yes, I believe we're talking about the same thing.

The graph with years on the x-axis and murders/year on the y axis shows points getting lower each year for many years (I don't remember the starting point) until at either 2015 or 2016, the point is slightly higher than the one before, but still way, WAY below the starting point. Thus, it is ridiculous to interpret this as the murder rate (y value) being the highest in any recent period. However, someone might have "informed" the So-Called President that the rate of increase--the slope of the curve--had been negative for a number of years, but went positive last year, thus that rate of increase being the highest it has been in some time. I'm guessing that whatever think tank latched onto that statistic knows that it is purposely misleading, but that President Snow himself thinks it really means what he's using it to imply--that the number of murders in the country is higher than it's been in recent memory. In fact, almost the opposite is true--the number of murders each year has fallen so far that eventually it couldn't keep getting lower every year.

Since, as you point out, the graph points themselves are called a "rate", it makes the terminology confusing. Is the slope of the curve then the first or the second derivative?

other said...

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2017/02/sessions-plans-stop-investigating-urban-police-departments

link to crime stats

short story things have gotten a lot better sense the 90's

sociotard said...

Read a contrary point of view today!

A Scientists’ March on Washington Is a Bad Idea

Tony Fisk said...

@Larry I thought 'AHCA' sounded like an aborted sneeze.

I would direct anyone talking 'scientific empiricism' to our own (well, Queensland's) Sen. Malcolm Roberts, who keeps using the term. I do not think it means what he thinks.

A.F. Rey said...

Enjoy it while you can, Treebeard, trading your freedom for security.

Because that is what you really are doing. You're taking away the freedom of others--foreigners, refugees, "Muslims" and "Africans"--preventing them from living where they want and working at what they want, all so that you can preserve the "traditions" of a "real American." Basically trading away those valuable parts of the Constitution for everyone except yourself and those you consider to be like you.

What you forget is that no one group stays on top forever. America will change, whether you like it or not. And whatever you do to oppress "the other" will become normalized, and when you are not on top, then this new "normal" it will be applied to you. What goes around, comes around, with a vengeance.

As Ben Franklin said, “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Nor will they get either.

ThemadLibrarian said...

All I can think of today is that Locum and the ent are engaged in the 'Long Troll', wherein they put forth their most outrageous opinions in an attempt to get the regular, more logical posters here riled up. All I can say in exchange is 'Have fun storming the castle!'

Carl M. said...

@Jon S. I just skimmed the bill.The tax credit is a refundable tax credit. That means if the credit exceeds your tax bill, you get money from the government. It's a negative income tax, effectively.

If I am reading the bill correctly, the credit is a dollar for dollar credit vs. a tax deduction, up to an annual maximum based upon age. In other words if you buy a cheap policy you can get the government to foot 100% of the bill. If you buy more, you pay 100% of the marginal cost.

This is more progressive than the old system of a tax deduction, as the credit is more valueable to low income workers -- or the unemployed. It also removes all tax incentive for the well off to buy Cadillac plans.

There is much to like.

locumranch said...


Donzelion is emblematic of most of you.

He agrees that the 'Shia dominated arc is a tragic joke' and, while he acknowledges the related hilarity, he proves himself incapable of emitting even single 'ha ha' when he relays evidence that the prior Shia occupations have left countless Shia libraries & hospitals standing behind them, yet no evidence that they left any standing infidel shrines, libraries & hospitals in FRONT of them.

What a humourless lot, you progressives are.

As are the impeccable double entendres of the Trumpster, my parched elaborate puns are wasted upon you. Why, just today, President Punster reduced me to fits of laughter as he denied his Russian associations with this frenchified tautologically-correct declaration:

"The russians are a 'russe' ! The russians are a 'russe' !"


Best

TCB said...

"The russians are a 'russe' ! The russians are a 'russe' !"

Yeah, no.

The man in the orange tan has proven himself to possess that feral quality an older generation once called 'low cunning', i.e. a modicum of intelligence only employed for unsavory ends: a pickpocket, a spam e-mailer, a car thief, these are the sorts of people who have 'low cunning.'

But nothing I have seen or heard of Donald Trump would indicate that he has the verbal subtlety to make a pun on the French word for 'Russian.'

Even a blind nut finds a squirrel every now and then.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

What a humourless lot, you progressives are.


I suppose the extraneous comma is some sort of hilarious pun? Or maybe the Canadian spelling.

David Brin said...

One of the blessings of travel is evading baloney. I did glimpse "leave the middle east!" raving:

1. Sure it would scare the saudis into IMAGINING a Persian tsunami. Maybe scare em into finally behaving like mensches. Peace with Israel (duh?) to defend against it!

2. In fact Iran would still puppet Iraq & Syria and I am fine with moderate clever opposing this. But to extend that farther is utter lunacy. How many Iranians do you think they are? Whose fathers and brothers were slaughtered in the last war? loony.

3. We're no longer suckling their oil teat. Why shouldn't we be less predictable as servants sepoys of the Wahabbis who taught every single terrorist?

donzelion said...

Locum - LOL, the Shi'a left the MOST 'infidel' shrines standing, both 'in front' and 'behind' them. You'll still find Zoroastrian monuments burning in Iran, you'll still find Christian and Jewish (and many other minority religious) communities in almost every Shi'a controlled or previously Shi'a controlled region. During the Crusades (esp. the first Crusade), the Jews of Israel, the Shi'a of Egypt (Fatimids), and the Sunnis stood against crazy Christians who tried to slaughter them all.

Rule by Mullahs is an incredibly recent innovation, with no historical precedent in Shi'a traditions. Historically, you'd find far more leaders building observatories (and even challenging religious scholars on questions of mathematics about, e.g., when to pray and whether Ramadan was ending) - and continuing the Platonic/Aristotlian debates than you would tend to find among Sunnis or Christians (save in the last 250 years or so among the latter).

he proves himself incapable of emitting even single 'ha ha'
Well, that would be a double 'ha' - where a single suffices.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Revolutionary activity would only become necessary if (when) the less populated but more numerous White States use their advantage in the Electoral College and Congress to interfere in the lawful activities of the Blue states."

The problem is that the "White States" are living on welfare provided by the largesse of the "Blue States." California, New York, and a handful of others have always been generous - financing the wars, building the prosperity of poorer neighbors with handouts, gold and silicon, light bulbs and hope. As a Hamilton fan, you'll recall why that is - the 'slave states' tied up their wealth in a very specific sort of an asset, and in social orders to maintain the value of that asset. The 'tea party' states and original 'don't tread on me' standard bearers built entirely novel social orders and possibilities - today's ugly posers misappropriate a rhetoric better linked to the servants of aristocrats.

"It's a shame, especially for a "Hamilton" fan, to watch America as an ideal die before our eyes"
It's not dead yet. Not by a long shot. These idiots and fools are trying to kill it, yes, but America as an ideal is far more powerful than the sycophant butt kissers who piss on the flag and legacy they claim to revere.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "3. We're no longer suckling their oil teat. Why shouldn't we be less predictable as servants sepoys of the Wahabbis who taught every single terrorist?"

CITOKATE requires correcting the last part of that statement:
(1) Philippines groups (Abu Sayyaf, relics of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front) have no Wahhabi tradition.
(2) Numerous Afghan/Pakistani groups have a Deobandi tradition, linking back to Indian anti-colonial terrorism (the original thugs, among many others)
(3) Palestinian HAMAS traces to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, itself regarded as apostates by Wahhabis.
(4) Lebanon's Shi'a terrorist groups remain with us, and again, are heretics to Wahhabis.
(5) Sub-Saharan West African groups are heterodox, with Wahhabi influence diluted among local traditions in Mali, Nigeria, and other movements (again, the 'ancient' Christian/Muslim rivalries have anti-colonial roots).
(6) Indonesia's terrorist groups have 0 Wahhabi root.

And that's just the Muslim world (my personal focus for 23 years now). In terms of global terrorism, you're already acquainted with the many 'nationalist' groups. The Communist terrorists are pretty much extinct/morphed into non-Communist forms.

Tony Fisk said...

I'll throw a scientific snippet into the political stream for a change. (It needs leavening)

This one involves Doctor Who's sonic screwdriver, and its ability to analyse the chemical properties of an object. Some researchers at ANU think it can actually be done.

(I assume they're talking about something more than spectrophotometry)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

"It's a shame, especially for a "Hamilton" fan, to watch America as an ideal die before our eyes"

It's not dead yet. Not by a long shot. These idiots and fools are trying to kill it, yes, but America as an ideal is far more powerful than the sycophant butt kissers who piss on the flag and legacy they claim to revere.


I know. It's just that, to quote Charles Lee from the play:
But there's so many of them!

You seem old enough to remember the OJ Simpson trial, and how shocked white America was to see so many of their fellow Americans celebrating his acquittal, because we had to face the fact that we really didn't understand what was going on in the heads of black America.

"You don't understand. Are you happy that he got away with murder?"

"No, you don't understand. The point is that HE got away with murder. A decade or so ago, he'd have been perfunctorily convicted whether he did it or not. Now, he's acquitted whether he did it or not. That's progress!"

Real culture shock.

That's what seems to be going on in the aftermath of the 2016 election--the glaring realization that a good percentage of my fellow Americans don't simply disagree on priorities and tactics, but strongly detest and actively seek to destroy the ideals that I thought were part of American DNA.

The revelation is chilling. It's right up there with the realization that not only does your wife not love you and is actively cheating with other men, but she's attempting to poison you.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Dr. Brin: "3. We're no longer suckling their oil teat. Why shouldn't we be less predictable as servants sepoys of the Wahabbis who taught every single terrorist?"

CITOKATE requires correcting the last part of that statement


I may be wrong, but I think Dr Brin meant "every single 9/11 terrorist" or "every single Muslim terrorist on American soil." Those are the terrorists which are used by authoritarians to justify being cruel to Muslims, so it's worth pointing out that those policies somehow fail to target the actual sources of those terrorists.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the presumption that "terrorism" is a term that applies specifically to Muslims in the first place. The right-wing insistence on naming the enemy as "Radical Islamic Terrorism" is not just an attempt to alienate muslims in general, but a naked strategy to exclude responding in kind to the McVeigh/Bundy/"Protect the babies!" brand of terrorism. If entire groups of people are to be excluded from this country based upon the number of terrorist attacks are perpetrated by members of those groups, then Trump supporters should be the first to be shipped out.

locumranch said...


What Donzelion describes as "White States living on welfare provided by the largesse of the Blue States," the rural recipients of such largesse would describe as an artificial poverty being enforced upon the rural resource providers by duplicitous payment in Blue State Company Script. He also claims to be able to tell the difference between 'good' Shia terrorist groups like Hezbollah, 'bad' Sunni terrorists like ISIL & less bad (?) heterodox African-based terrorists who slaughter school boys, a distinction totally lost on the legions of their mutually dead victims. Ha.

LarryHart said...

@locumranch,

Your reading comprehension sucks as usual.

donzelion was disputing the contention that all terrorists were created by Saudi Wahabbists, and so was listing terrorist groups which were not. There was no value judgement between different terrorist groups in his post.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

What Donzelion describes as "White States living on welfare provided by the largesse of the Blue States," the rural recipients of such largesse would describe as an artificial poverty being enforced upon the rural resource providers by duplicitous payment in Blue State Company Script.


Are you saying that rural resource providers are supposed to be paid more? If not, then what are you saying?

Also, I take it you are not a believer in the laissez-faire notion that whatever the market will bear is fair compensation? Because the Republican politicians you vote for as part of the solution do believe that.

A.F. Rey said...

Some bad, but unsurprising, news. According to FiveThirtyEight, over 60 percent of voters live in counties that are predominately Republican or Democrat (Trump or Clinton won by 60 percent of the votes or more).

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/purple-america-has-all-but-disappeared/

This means that most people are now, geographically, isolated in areas where one party's ideology overwhelmingly prevails. Which means working back toward the center is going to be that much harder. :(

LarryHart said...

@A F Rey,

The voters in Democratic counties are the center.

LarryHart said...

...also, I'm not sure how good of an indicator of partisanship "(Trump or Clinton won by 60 percent of the votes or more)" is. Both candidates had large numbers of voters so opposed to them that they'd have voted for Satan or Kim Jung Un rather than let fill-in-the-blank near the Oval Office.

I think a stronger indicator of partisanship might be "voted for the same party for president, Senate, and representative." My district in Illinois went respectively for Hillary, Tammy Duckworth, and Jan Schakowski--all Democrats--so I'd agree that that means something.

I'd also suspect that many of those counties are rural counties which went strong Republican, but don't have many people in them. What does that tell us that we don't already know. Small towns are more homogeneous. I'm not sure that's news. On the other side, urban areas skew Democratic, but that doesn't mean there aren't a lot of Republicans in the mix. Cook County has always been a Democratic stronghold, but when I was young, the suburbs were solidly Republican. The partisanship was always there, but the Republican partisanship of subrubs would be masked by a county-wide statistic which threw Chicago into the mix. Now, the urbanization has spread so that many suburbs are more mixed than they used to be. That makes the county look more Democratic, but it's actually a lessening of the partisanship of many suburbs.

So caveat emptor and all.

David S said...

Larry/A F Rey,
According to George Lakoff, the conservatives follow a strong father worldview/morality and the progressives follow a nurturer parent worldview/morality. Moderates follows a strong father or nurturer parent view on each specific issue. There is no universal worldview/morality that all moderates follow.





donzelion said...

LarryHart: re terrorism

I'm sure you're right re Dr. Brin's meaning, and certainly he's well aware of the other brands of terrorism out there. Historically, the worst forms of terrorism (using the FBI level, at a sub-state level) in terms of body count have always been separatist/nationalist movements. I try to keep things in perspective: Qataris and much of the Emiratis are as Wahhabi as the Saudis are, and as irresponsible in their financial flows - but Dr. Brin generally means Saudi Wahhabis (the only ones most Americans have ever heard of).

re OJ/culture shock: I was in the "Multi-Cultural Center" at my university, the lone white man in the room, as the crowd started cheering the verdict, and was indeed quite perplexed. Still, I think there may be a difference: 'black America' (to the extent there is a monolithic experience) is well-acquainted with police railroad tactics to get convictions - many will have experiences with being stopped and frisked, searched in stores, and other treatment that white Americans have never encountered (and would pull out a gun and shoot someone if they encountered such 'abuses' - but would deem it a perfectly normal treatment when it happens to someone else).

Still, all these people schooled in anger aren't actually trying to poison the country: they don't realize they are themselves being poisoned (mentally, by the FoxNews nicotine they suck down). They can't turn off FoxNews - they are numb and need to feel something, and having somewhere to direct ridiculous anger is better than drinking themselves into oblivion. On some level, even as they mock science and knowledge, they just want to belong - to something, anything - and even if it's a crazy cult, then at least it's better than loneliness and angst.

donzelion said...

Locum: "the rural recipients of such largesse [provided from Blue States to 'white states'] would describe as an artificial poverty being enforced upon the rural resource providers by duplicitous payment in Blue State Company Script."

Yes, gratitude is too much to expect for people who despise China yet buy Chinese, despise technology and science, yet use it extensively, despise education yet crave opportunity...the contempt of the folks you're describing is absolutely comparable to the contempt many Wahhabis feel towards Americans ("they hate us for our freedom" is another tragic joke - they are contemptuous of people who have been great benefactors to them - the same idiocy as the folks who believe themselves to be 'offering the resources' - which only have value because citydwellers are able to pay for them). They are 'shallow patriots' - flying flags and screaming slogans they don't believe in - much like a number of Americans who've never served, never put their lives on the line to help achieve national goals, and who willingly let those who do so be used as pawns to enrich a handful of insiders (all while claiming to hate the insiders they so loyally serve).

"He also claims to be able to tell the difference between 'good' Shia terrorist groups like Hezbollah,"
As LarryHart indicated, I raised Hezbollah to counter Dr. Brin's erroneous statement that all terrorists are Wahhabis. Hardly an accurate statement. I never said, implied, or in any way suggested that they are 'good.'

That said, I don't like monolithic treatments of any group - they are always erroneous, as groups of humans always consist of subgroups, variations, distinctions. That lets me see certain Wahhabi groups as reining in certain African thugs in certain circumstances - or Saudi Wahhabis fighting ISIL 'Wahhabi-deviants' - an approach common among intelligence officers, whose first priority is not to 'kill bad guys' but to 'get somewhat less bad guys to kill/immobilize worse bad guys for you.'

Robert said...

Okay. Did I hallucinate someone called Entwives post on the site just to give Treebeard a greater burn than some of the Ents attacking Isengard experienced? And if not, why has no one applauded such delightful humor?

Meh, I'll applaud them. *stands and applauds*

Now it appears Trump has been directly caught in a lie over meeting with Russians.

100 days, my friends. It is looking more and more certain at this point. The only real question is what will Trump do in response... and will the Military refuse to obey his murderous orders to drag the U.S. into an unnecessary conflict?

Rob H.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Still, all these people schooled in anger aren't actually trying to poison the country


Maybe so, but the smack in the face of realization that a significant chunk of my fellow Americans are hostile to what I think of as American values feels as disorienting as it would to suddenly realize that my wife (or brother or mother or child) wants to kill me.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Now it appears Trump has been directly caught in a lie over meeting with Russians.

100 days, my friends. It is looking more and more certain at this point.


I'd love to believe you are right. I still see no sign that either Mitch McConnell or Paul Ryan has any interest in impeachment. They may even be glad about Trump's distractions while they eliminate Social Security and Medicare and Obamacare.

It's not enough that President Snow commits impeachable acts. Congress has to do the impeaching. If they don't do it, it doesn't happen.

locumranch said...


There are no moral imperatives or 'supposed tos' in any of my statements, only explanation.

The rural resource providers despise the urban blue consumer for good reason as the blues have been deliberately exploiting & impoverishing the rural reds for generations with an urban-preferential monetary policy indistinguishable from the Company Store confidence game, one that was (until recently) successfully disguised by disingenuous urban federal 'largesse' & class-based shame projection.

It is a given that urban blues could partially ameliorate this hatred if & only if they chose to pay the rural reds reparations (a living wage), but there are neither 'shoulds' nor 'ought tos' therein, just inescapable consequence after generations of economic exploitation, Brexit & the Coronation Trump being the last warning that you will receive and (most likely) ignore.

It is quite ironic, IMO, that the rural reds can easily overtip the entire corrupt urban applecart (not by revolution but) by NOT lifting a finger in the best Gandhian tradition. Quite inadvertently, the urban blues will do the rest, simply by denying their complete and utter dependence upon the rural contingent that they always have & always will exploit.

In the most sardonic sense, it is almost too funny that Trump may be the key to all the pending chaos within & without the USA, just not in the way that these self-righteous navel-gazing progressives imagine. This, his representational nature, will be my little secret until after the urban blues announce their so-called 'victory' & his defeat.

Finally, there's good reason why the term 'Assassin' is derived from the Muslim name 'Hasan': Aside from lip service, very few Muslim cultures abide by western standards of jurisprudence, humanitarian convention, morality, rules of engagement or even the Articles of War, especially when it comes to those diversity preference, religions, genders & minorities of which they disapprove.


Best

David Brin said...

AF Rey, the problem is radicalization, which was pushed forward by Fox and by the GOP leadership and by gerrymandering. Where gherrymandering is stymied, radicalization declines. But especially in California, where non partisan primaries and top-two runoffs have resulted in astonishing levels of moderation and willingness to listen-negotiate.

donzelion I know there are many kinds of radicals. But divvy up the harm done to Americans and there is a very weighted distribution.

still on the road...

db

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

There are no moral imperatives or 'supposed tos' in any of my statements, only explanation.


If there are no "supposed tos", then there is no such thing as injustice and no reason for outrage. In order for people to rise up against an oppressor and be willing to hurt themselves as long as they hurt the oppressor worse, they have to feel that the oppressor has wronged them. That is, that the oppressor is not acting as he is supposed to.

All else is sophistry.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "donzelion I know there are many kinds of radicals. But divvy up the harm done to Americans and there is a very weighted distribution."

If that's the standard (US person body count, rather than total body count), then by far the worst terrorist organization for killing Americans has long been the KKK. While they adopt a large number of intellectual tendencies that are straight from Wahhabi dogma, they are not Wahhabis so far as I'm aware (and Wahhabis renounce racial animus by and large). ;-)

Indeed, that's the great risk of linking 'like-minded' groups together - the fact that there are an incredible number of parallels in their mental patterns, recruitment, conduct, and operations understates the simple fact that such groups tend to hate each other (to the extent they are even aware of the other). Personally, I wouldn't mind putting the KKK leadership and the ISIS leadership on a moonbase together and leaving them to work out the oxygen problems...

donzelion said...

Locum: "the blues have been deliberately exploiting & impoverishing the rural reds for generations with an urban-preferential monetary policy"

Ah, so folks in the rural South were wealthy before urban-preferential monetary policies started? They migrated West because they were so prosperous that the starvation lifestyle of many of them was an elite diet plan? Folks in Appalachia enjoyed the taste of coal in the morning, and thought black lung was a fashion choice? Farmers in Oklahoma made so much money that they started raising dust because the wealth was just flowing in?

Nah, it was all liberal's fault, every time because...well, you don't like them, so facts don't matter.

Dude, your view of history is rather anti-factual.

"It is a given that urban blues could partially ameliorate this hatred if & only if they chose to pay the rural reds reparations (a living wage),"

On the other hand, we could partially exacerbate this hatred by turning off the subsidies, so that rural dwellers paid full price for health, power, internet, etc. Then ya'll would be even angrier, but wouldn't have power or communications systems to express your fury.

"rural reds can easily overtip the entire corrupt urban applecart (not by revolution but) by NOT lifting a finger in the best Gandhian tradition."

Try it. The dependence operates much the opposite way: there is little that the rural America provides that doesn't have value primarily because it gets consumes elsewhere. You could try to sell your water to Mexico, instead of LA, but then the folks in rural America who actually control the region would lose a fortune: they'll wipe you off your land in a heartbeat. Confederates assumed a commodity to confer more power than it ever actually can - you replicate the same error today.

The word 'Hassan' has nothing to do with the word 'Assassin.' Stop making up crap. As for 'abide by western standards of jurisprudence' - the vast majority of the Muslim world (48 out of 53+ countries) operates common or civil law courts. You're just being an ignorant ass (which also has nothing to do with 'assassin' but comes a little closer).

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Maybe so, but the smack in the face of realization that a significant chunk of my fellow Americans are hostile to what I think of as American values feels as disorienting as it would to suddenly realize that my wife (or brother or mother or child) wants to kill me."

Ah, now that I understand. Every time Locum spouts some crap nonsense, and thinks of it as somehow patriotic, I get a little frustrated and a lot worried: how many millions out there think like him? (Or do not think but speak, like him, as if they were thinking.)

Perhaps I'm just optimistic. I don't feel a need to buy guns to protect from the 'poisoned Americans' because I think they're talking smack - just like the smart aleck brat in class who doesn't know anything, but asks what he thinks are profound questions and makes fun of how his teachers dress to disguise his own lazy inability to concentrate and read beyond funny pages and slogans.

LarryHart said...

donzelion to locumranch:

"rural reds can easily overtip the entire corrupt urban applecart (not by revolution but) by NOT lifting a finger in the best Gandhian tradition."

Try it.


Locum isn't really a red-stater, and there's reason to doubt he's rural. He claims to be a doctor under the jurisdiction of California law. So this whole "rural red staters can do thus-and-such" sounds a lot like "Let's you and him fight!"

The word 'Hassan' has nothing to do with the word 'Assassin.' Stop making up crap.


The Geico commercial.

If you're locumranch, you make up crap. It's what you do.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Perhaps I'm just optimistic. I don't feel a need to buy guns to protect from the 'poisoned Americans' because I think they're talking smack.


The problem is when they vote smack.

locumranch said...



Nothing personal, Donzelion, but your knowledge of language history & economics are substandard.

The term 'Assassin' refers to the fanatical followers of al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah who were known as "aschishin", a Persian term that literally translates as 'a follower of Hasan'. For generations though, the origin of this term was falsely attributed to the Arabic root "haschishin" (which literally translates as a 'hashish-user"), based on the legend that Hasan made his followers into aggressive infidel-killers with the drug hashish. Still others argued that this term has it's origins from the Arabic root "hassa" (which means "to slaughter or exterminate"). The problem with both of these Arabic explanations is that Hasan & his followers were NOT Arabic. Instead, they were teetotalers (Persian Shiites, 11th century, subcategory Ismailians) who argued that the Koran's ban on alcohol was a ban on all intoxicants including hashish, meaning that they were sober rational killers when it came to the premeditated slaughter of both Christians & other Muslims that they judged to be incorrect..

Your economic argument is likewise absurd when you imply that (1) the entirely dependent Urban Blues are doing their Rural Red cousins a giant favour by accepting their rural resources for urban use, AS IF (2) the Red Rural States must plead with the Blue Urban market to accept their worthless life-sustaining wares, even though (3) most Modern Metropolises would be stone-cold dead in 3 days if not for the unceasing & routinely undervalued supplies delivered by their unenlightened, much mocked & extremely gullible rural cousins. As in the case of Water Rights, Southern California lays historical claim to & takes the water it desires by fiat (an act of legally-sanctioned robbery) without any attempt to compensate the upstream rural areas for their watery resources (see 'Colorado River Compact').

It's called 'reciprocity' when good or ill treatment is returned in kind. Some call it Justice; others call it the 'Law of Retaliation; and still others call it Newton's Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". And, once such actions are committed, all of your precious 'shoulds', 'ought tos' & 'supposed tos' cannot undo a single word of it, mostly because 'supposed to' (meaning 'generally assumed') and 'deservingness' (meaning 'a state of worthiness') are non-homologous terms.


Best, as always, from your doctor friend certified by many states.

Brother Doug said...

Guys don't feed the trolls. Locumranch and treebeard as far as I can tell are white nationalists trying to spread a evil meme. It's a waste of time talking to them online.

Tim H. said...

As far as I can tell, most of the suffering of "Red America" has been at the hands of their own leadership, who foists the blame onto others. They'll suffer being a thrall if there's even a infinitesimal chance of joining the winning class.
For your further amusement:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/560181280/trump-troll-doll-sculpture-by-chuck-williams

LarryHart said...

Tim H:

As far as I can tell, most of the suffering of "Red America" has been at the hands of their own leadership, who foists the blame onto others.


Exactly! For all of the legitimate grievances that locumranch points out on behalf of rural red-staters, the proposed solution--elect Republicans--is the equivalent of spraying gasoline on a fire in order to put it out. "Who could have known that wouldn't work?"

LarryHart said...

@Brother Doug,

The evil meme is out there whether we talk to it or not. Pretending that we can ignore White Nationalists and therefore they will be ignored generally is what got us President Snow in the first place. There may be more of them than of us, or at least they carry more states than we do.

Also, I don't perceive loc as a White Nationalist. More of a Rural Supremacist--someone who buys Sarah Palin's notion of a stark distinction between metropolitan areas and "Real America".

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

It's called 'reciprocity' when good or ill treatment is returned in kind. Some call it Justice; others call it the 'Law of Retaliation; and still others call it Newton's Third Law: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction". And, once such actions are committed, all of your precious 'shoulds', 'ought tos' & 'supposed tos' cannot undo a single word of it, mostly because 'supposed to' (meaning 'generally assumed') and 'deservingness' (meaning 'a state of worthiness') are non-homologous terms.


You palter, sir.

I gather you are asserting that there is no objective standard by which things are "supposed to" be one way and not another. That the universe doesn't care. Fair enough, but meaningless.

In the realm of human social interaction, the psychohistorical laws which dictate how humans will react to being treated "good or ill" imply that those human beings feel a sense of justice or injustice; of having been treated in a way one does or doesn't deserve. I don't see how you can argue the one without the other. It's as if you're saying there is no such thing as gravity, but rather it is simply a truism that objects with mass tend to accelerate toward other objects with mass. Or, like former Republican congressman Larry Craig, "I'm not gay. I just like having sex with other men."

George Carty said...

LarryHart: Also, I don't perceive loc as a White Nationalist. More of a Rural Supremacist--someone who buys Sarah Palin's notion of a stark distinction between metropolitan areas and "Real America".

Isn't the distinction between the two blurred though?

"The yeoman of his own acre is the backbone of the German people's strength and character. Cowards are born in towns, heroes in the country." -- Heinrich Himmler

David S said...

"It is a given that urban blues could partially ameliorate this hatred if & only if they chose to pay the rural reds reparations (a living wage)."

Urban/blue states against living wages?! LOL.


2017 Highlights
Nineteen states began the new year with higher minimum wages. Seven states (Alaska, Florida, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, Ohio and South Dakota) automatically increased their rates based on the cost of living, five states (Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Maine and Washington) increased their rates through ballot initiatives previously approved by voters, and seven states (California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York and Vermont) did so as a result of legislation passed in prior sessions. Washington D.C., Maryland and Oregon are scheduled to raise their respective minimum wages on July 1, 2017 due to previously enacted legislation.

Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx

A nice map showing minimum wage by state can be found at:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimum_wage_in_the_United_States

Tim H. said...

David S., Missouri is considering a bill that would forbid cities from setting a higher minimum wage than the state minimum, this from the party dedicated to state and local control...

Carl M. said...

@donzelion

Some largely forgotten terrorists:

https://status451.com/2017/01/20/days-of-rage/

Jumper said...

Tim, NC passed a similar ordinance along with the stupid transgender thing, which got all the coverage in the news. And that was just a "living wage" requirement for city contractors! The Republicans made THAT illegal.

...

In another topic, back when the patents for nuclear power were being handed out, Richard Feynman ended up with the patent for nuclear powered aircraft. Which led to what are called "flying radiators" which as we can all see, never really happened except experimentally.
Idly trying to come up with either a permanent solar-powered dirigible, or some method to detach O2 from CO2 for a Venusian version (O2 being lighter than Venus's CO2 atmosphere), I suddenly realized that with some U235 I could keep my dirigible up in the air for longer than my own lifespan. Hot air unlimited.

Atomic Zeppelins can really be a thing!

Alfred Differ said...

@George Carly;

Isn't the distinction between the two blurred though?

No. Not really. I sincerely doubt locumranch is a 'white' supremacist or even a racist. He opposes what he sees as elitism and paternalism and that is very different.

I also suspect locumranch is more loyal to the older virtue ethics than the newer one born about four centuries ago. The bourgeoisie born of the towns could not be virtuous in the old system because they traded and trade was understood to be zero-sum. My gain is someone's loss. How virtuous can that be, huh?

LarryHart said...

George Carty:

LarryHart: Also, I don't perceive loc as a White Nationalist. More of a Rural Supremacist--someone who buys Sarah Palin's notion of a stark distinction between metropolitan areas and "Real America".

Isn't the distinction between the two blurred though?


Yes, but the "Real America" types don't make an exception for urban smartypantses who happen to be white.

locumranch said...


As 'generally-accepted assumptions', the use of Moral Imperatives like 'must', 'should', 'ought' and 'supposed to' reveal more about the moralist's inherent assumptions than they do about the reality that such statements are believed to reflect. They (these moralisms) represent circular arguments, magical thinking and/or psychological projections that assume reality in order to confirm the primacy of the assumed reality.

TimS does this when he assumes that Red America deserves to suffer under a non-reciprocal social contract because of their poor choice in leadership; DavidS does this when he assumes that a higher minimum wage represents an antidote to wage slavery when it does not; BrotherD does this when he assumes the narrative that popular nationalism equal 'white supremacism'; LarryH does this when he assumes that justice (and/or Injustice) must necessarily correspond to a sense of relative deservingness; Pinker does this when he assumes that less crime represents 'better' social health rather than social senescence; our host David does this when he assumes that Trump (and/or human-medicated climate change) must represent an unmitigated evil; and Donzelion does this when he rejects a dictionary definition in favour of his own personal belief system.

All these moralisms represent 'a priori' conclusions that distort your perceptions of empiric reality, so much so that you limit your worldview with every 'must', 'should', 'ought' and 'supposed to' that you utter.

In a deliberate & moralistic fashion, you have lobotomised yourselves.


Best

Jumper said...

Real Americans sit around their trailers snorting cocaine and listening to Hank Williams Jr. sing songs about his ego.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

LarryH does this when he assumes that justice (and/or Injustice) must necessarily correspond to a sense of relative deservingness;


A more accurate representation of my assertion is that a sense of justice or injustice corresponds to a sense of deservingness.

You yourself (obviously) presume a "supposed to" when you insist that Dr Brin is doing something wrong. Physician heal thyself.

Antonym said...

"Atomic Zeppelins can really be a thing! "

Now we are cooking!

I have long though Venus was a better terraforming option than Mars, especially if we can "nudge" Mercury into orbit around Venus to give her some spin.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Jumper said...

If we have the power to move planets, the details of terraforming will come easily.

I'm still fascinated with Ceres. It's the biggest water source in a low gravity well, that's within reach. I would like to find an asteroid made of calcium. The problems it would solve are many.

Tim H. said...

Jumper, the questions a largely calcium asteroid would raise would be many, given that calcium rich minerals here have a biological origin.

Tim H. said...

Locum, I'm hesitant to to say much about "Red America" because the causes are a tangled "Charlie Foxtrot" of ideas that seemed good at the time, objectification of human beings and bad ideas enshrined by long habit. One example, back in the 60s, farm support policy was altered to encourage larger, more efficient operations, this reduced the number of participants in the rural economies, starving small town businesses. It didn't end there, makers of agricultural equipment experienced a change in what they could sell, the market in small equipment dried up, and the fewer, larger sales to larger operations didn't need as many worker, are even as many manufacturers and became one of the factors in the "Rust belt". This is just one of many things going on, and the affected people surely didn't deserve it, voting Democrat might help, but would be insufficient, campaign finance might be an appropriate place to start shoveling.

donzelion said...

Locum: re the origins of the term 'Assassin' -
The Arabic common name 'Hassan' means 'handsome.' The word is transliterated h-s-n using the standard trileteral root typical of semitic languages (both Arabic and Hebrew, as well as Aramaic, but not Persian, which is an Indo-European language). The Arabic word for "to kill" (which, as with semitic tongues, becomes the base for 'killer' and 'murderer') is variously q-t-l ('qatala' in its basic form), and the word for slaughter is dh-b-H (strong H, a consonant not present in English). H-S-N as a verb means "to make handsome" and has nothing to do with murder, slaughter, or extermination. Please name your source. Mine is the Hans Wehr dictionary, the most respected in the English/Arabic world, as it reviews all uses and transformations of trileteral roots.

"Nothing personal, Donzelion, but your knowledge of language history & economics are substandard."
Seeing as how I studied this language for years, lived among scholars and studied both the Assassins and other sects, it is sort of personal. And you're either making things up, or you've found a source that is itself an idiot. I have put my life on the line, lived and worked in these regions, and walked beside our soldiers through places where people were shooting when they were shooting. On this subject, you're an armchair dilettante who might have read a book or played a videogame somewhere (name it, and I'll offer my critique - and also if needed, evaluate the sources behind the sources).

That said, Bernard Lewis (of Princeton) did review the evidence that the word 'Assassin' might be linked to Hassan, and rejected it as even less probable than the 'hashish' origins. There is at least some historical basis for the 'hashish' claim (not that the Assassins actually used it, but that their opponents accused them of doing so), dating to the 12th century, with well-authenticated backing (typically, the Fatimid Caliphate, itself Shi'a, albeit not Nizari/Ismaili).

donzelion said...

Carl M: Noted; I haven't read Burrough's book, but am well aware of the history of leftwing terrorism. The dichotomies I prefer separate 'ethnonationalist' groups from 'leftwing' groups - they operate differently (and are fought and defeated through different means); my preference is for Gurr, and subsequent research on political violence following his approaches.

One point though: the number everyone cites by Max Noel ("at least 1900 bombings in 1972") is problematic, because statistical sources at the time would include a large number of 'bombings' that today would NOT be counted as terrorist attacks (e.g., we had 282,600 arson fires from 2007-2011, according to the National Fire Protection Association - many of which would have been classified as 'bombings' in a different era given the various ignition mechanisms, but today are treated differently).

Had I come of age in the '60s, I'd have been as frustrated with left-wing trolls and their delusions as I am with Locum's delusions. Delusions hurt people. This is one of the reasons I find Dr. Brin's writing here refreshing and keep returning (even if I criticize him occasionally, I do not distrust his intentions).

donzelion said...

Alfred: While trade was generally viewed as 'zero sum' up until the 17th century, trade in certain goods was considered an extension of reaping the fruit of the earth, and thus not entirely 'zero sum.' The 'older virtue ethics' held 'magnanimity' as the highest possible virtue (followed only by liberality) - traders MIGHT be highly virtuous if (and only if) they applied the fruits of their trade to producing 'useful/wonderful' things (great public works) (magnanimity), and so long as they did not apply themselves merely to amassing/hoarding wealth. Indeed, where wealth is concerned, Aristotlian ethics could readily merge with Christian doctrine (numerous parables of rich men).

donzelion said...

LarryHart: re this exchange -

Brother Doug: "As far as I can tell, most of the suffering of "Red America" has been at the hands of their own leadership, who foists the blame onto others."

Your own addition: "...the proposed solution--elect Republicans--is the equivalent of spraying gasoline on a fire in order to put it out. "Who could have known that wouldn't work?"

There is a strange sort of jubilation in anticipating someone burning up in such a 'bombing' as that - so long as it happens to someone else, somewhere far away. Jonah was hardly unusual in wanting to see the wicked people suffer, rather than repent. Scott Pruitt is hardly alone in shrugging aside causes of global warming, which are quite unlikely to drown Kansas any time soon (and if they wipe out Miami, then Florida will be that much safer as a red-state).

David Brin said...

Carl M I am not someone who has forgotten left wing terrorism! But what’s your point? It is insatiable oligarchic imbeciles who are causing the words “Karl” and “Marx” to be spoken aloud again, in countless places where they had been forgotten.

Jumper we can move planets if they have a big moon! See my riff on this by googling my name and “lift the earth!”

David Brin said...

Unsurprisingly, I call BS on almost everything locumranch has said since i got home. Still, he is debating with better panaches and some surficial traits of sane disputation, so let’s reward that.

Still, he is old enough to remember horrid images of “hillbilly” poverty, not just in Appalachia but across the white south. One wave of “liberal aggression” — the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Interstate Highway System and federal health clinics and agricultural offices — had slashed that poverty in half.

Johnson’s subsequent War on Poverty went vastly more to white southerners and Appalachians than any other groups. They benefited spectacularly, so that “hillbilly” stereotypes pretty much went away. Did they still lag the nation? Sure. But most of the grinding misery was GONE by Reagan’s time! And what remained was largely mismanagement by loony state governments.

It is entirely a different world, and the parents in the Greatest Generation knew this and voted democrat. It’s their Boomer sons who are stunning ingrates.

Why?

You guys have got to read at least the writeup on this book.

WHY did conservatives love Bush’s No Child Left Behind? Because it demanded accountability from teachers! Yay! Why did they swing around and hate it? Because the testing showed that Red States do crappy at educating their kids. They flunk across the board, in every category and keep falling farther behind? The solution? Private church schools! Yay!

Oh, BTW, stop whining about Blue Folks contempt for redders. You’ve got it NOW! And I guess there were always some who sneered. But NOTHING like the incessant yowls that city folks have no values. We have heard that shit repeated incessantly, all our lives, frantically. Now that all national comity is gone, we don’t have to wince and take it, anymore.

"The yeoman of his own acre is the backbone of the German people's strength and character. Cowards are born in towns, heroes in the country." -- Heinrich Himmler

Diametrically opposite to true. Who is screeching about “terrorism”? City folks who are the targets if ISIS? Or whimpering good old boys?

locumranch said...


It's clear that Donzelion is something of an Arabic language scholar and, as such, he has my respect & admiration. His expertise in Arabic, however, in no way diminishes my grasp of English Etymology, it being a given that most English Etymology references attribute the origin of the term 'Assassin' to the Arabic root "haschishin" (meaning 'hashish-user"), at least according to translations of Marco Polo, as well as the other possible word origins reported above, while still other sources allege that it comes from a Persian word 'hassassin' meaning 'dagger' (according to 'The History of the Knights of Malta', circa 1860).

Be that as it may, the study of etymology is fraught with frequent translation & transliteration error which often makes simple homophonic substitution the most likely explanation as in the case of al-Hassan's followers (aschishin), or their killing dagger of choice (hassassin), being the most likely source of the Anglicised term 'Assassin'.

Finally, it behooves us to note that our resident Arabic language scholar is something of an 'a priori' Muslim Apologist, as evidenced by (1) his spirited rejection of what amounts to a 12th Century slander of al-Hasan ibn-al-Sabbah & his remorseless Shiite killers and (2) his insistence that the honorific 'Hassan' indicates profound physical handsomeness.

So sure is Donzelion of both his Arabic expertise & the innocence of his valued Muslim study subjects that he must ASSUME that Islamophobia (no matter how well-reasoned & supported) represents either bigotry or delusion, elsewise his fragile ego would be crushed by cognitive dissonance.

Ergo, he must invariably conclude that (either) the holder of the disparate viewpoint is deluded crazy or admit that he is, much like our left-leaning David does when he condemns the degenerate Red political right lest he admit to his own Blue taint of moral complicity.


Best

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Scott Pruitt is hardly alone in shrugging aside causes of global warming, which are quite unlikely to drown Kansas any time soon


Not from rising oceans, no. But Kansas is already subject to severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, which will become worse over time. More drenching rain on very flat land is "a kind of drowning, Your Honor."


(and if they wipe out Miami, then Florida will be that much safer as a red-state).


But also much less influential. Florida now has more than one tenth of all electoral votes. Florida-without-Miami would be more like Alabama or Mississippi. And if all of those urban dwellers move up to Atlanta, then Georgia becomes one more solidly-blue state.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

traders MIGHT be highly virtuous if (and only if) they applied the fruits of their trade to producing 'useful/wonderful' things (great public works) (magnanimity), and so long as they did not apply themselves merely to amassing/hoarding wealth.


Caveat emptor if I'm using the terms amateurishly. I see quite the distinction between amassing wealth by providing the commons with a previously-unavialable resource (i.e., refining ore, or taming a wilderness) vs hoarding, the mere act of claiming more of the commons as your own private property, off-limits to the public.

Hoarding, as I use the term above, is on the spectrum of legal (or not) theft, somewhere between insider-trading and pillaging. The other kind of wealth-amassing is truly wealth-creating, a win-win which benefits the commons at the same time it makes an individual wealthy. It makes sense to be wary of the former while extolling the latter as a virtue. To me the essential sin of the Ayn Rand/Paul Ryan wing of conservatism is to willfully conflate the two things, equating hoarders with wealth-creators.

Paul SB said...

Tim H pointed out how market forces led to furthering the depopulation trends in 1960's rural America, Dr. Brin discussed the huge extent to which liberal government raised most of the nation's rural Caucasians out of the grinding poverty that had been characteristic for a couple centuries (to say nothing of improvements in nutrition and health care. Almost the entirety of the South used to be called "The Goiter Belt" because so many people had that disease due to poor nutrition - a problem solved by FDA fiat). Both Larry H and Dr. Brin pointed out that electing Republicans makes it worse for rural Caucasians, while electing Democrats results in improvements for all. Yet Loci persists in his delusions - as Donzelion said.

But in spite of all the pixel shed over Arabic and English etymologies, the point little Loci was trying to makes was simply to slander a civilization, to put hundreds of millions of people into the same box and say that they are all a bunch of terrorists. This is no different than his constant harangue against both city-dwellers and women. The primary problem here is overgeneralization, or what in the common parlance would be called prejudice, or racism and sexism. In more scientific terms it is systematic bias. This is a key difference between sentient human beings and backward-looking troglodytes. Painting with too broad a brush. I don't know what social circles he circulates in, but most of the nation is slowly inching its way away from that ancient, primitive and ultimately self-destructive way of thinking.

True, there have been some recent political events that show a backslide, but the trend is clear enough. Loci may be "walking down the up escalator" but he is walking down it with a decreasing number of people. And in the process he and his ilk have lost what credibility they once had. Most people can see the Emperor's new fashion statement - naked aggression, and as Larry once pointed out (or maybe it was Dr. Brin, or both) the more Team Trog slides toward defeat, the louder they screech.

Beast

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Ergo, he
must invariably conclude that (either) the holder of the disparate viewpoint is deluded crazy or admit that he is, much like our left-leaning David does when he condemns the degenerate Red political right lest he admit to his own Blue taint of moral complicity.


Wherefore "must"?

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB,

(quoting "Escape from New York")

"I thought you was dead."

Peter said...

I feel the latest CIA revelations from Wikileaks once again proves the points in "The Transparent Society" book. That the powers that be will cheat and gather your login info before the point of encryption. Thus making it useless.

LarryHart said...

Republican Ohio governor John Kasich writes an opinion piece in today's New York Times.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/opinion/john-kasich-end-the-partisan-warfare-on-health-care.html

This part stood out for me:

In 2010, one side of the political aisle in Congress, the Democrats, chose to “fix” health care unilaterally, without bipartisan support. The result was Obamacare, which has run up government spending while failing to drive down the cost of health care.


First of all, in what way did Obamacare "fail to drive down costs"? Health care premiums had been increasing by double-digit percentages until Obamacare kicked in.

More to my point, though, Republicans were the ones who refused to work on even the concept of universalizing health care. If the minority refuses to work with the majority, is that a sin of the majority that they acted without support from the obstructionists?

It occurs to me that our two parties are increasingly polarized in this manner. One party does stuff, and the other stands atwhart history shouting "NEIN!". But the two polarizations are not equal. Reality has a liberal bias.

Think of it as analogous to time travel. In every day, non-sci-fi life, we travel forward at a rate of one second per second. Democrats argue among themselves as to whether one second per second is optimal, or if we could do better to accelerate "faster" through time, and if the latter, which "speed" is best. Eisenhower-era Republicans might argue that one second per second exists for a reason, and that we'd do well not to upset the apple cart, but those Republicans hardly exist in national politics any more. The Republican Party seems to exist on a spectrum between those who insist on bringing time to a "standstill"--where any advance forward, no matter how "slowly" is anathema, vs those who think that even "standing still in time" is insufficient, and that anything short of backwards time travel is a betrayal of principle.

The extremes on the two sides are not equivalent. One wants to move too quickly to a destination that will be reached eventually in time. The other wants to metaphorically sail up a waterfall. It makes sense that the two sides cannot reasonably compromise. It does not make sense to lay the blame for this failure on both sides.


LarryHart said...

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

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is less pessimistic than Cotton. Yesterday, he called on Republicans to put aside their differences and pass the House bill. He said that when the other party occupies the White House, you can aim for perfect solutions, but when your party is in charge of everything, people expect results, even if they are not 100% perfect in every way. Whether McConnell can actually control his caucus, however, is a different story.


I find this bizarre, to assert that when your party is merely an annoyance to the majority, that's the time to press your agenda without compromise, whereas when you control all of the levers of power, it is time to pass half-assed measures so you can claim victory.

Jumper said...

Jeremiah's Invisible Tennis Net has no strings. It's a polite fiction; they are arbitrarily agreed upon. But Jeremiah is a cheat. Whenever his opponent hits one he claims it was in the path of the string netting. But when he hits one right into the net zone he cries about the falsity of the whole arbitrary rule and demands his point.

Paul SB said...

Larry said @Paul SB,

(quoting "Escape from New York")

"I thought you was dead."

Close, but I'm recovering. Quoting Eeyore: "Thanks for noticing."

greg byshenk said...

"I thought you were dead..."
I thought that was from 'Big Jake'.

A.F. Rey said...

Hmmm...I thought it was Mark Twain... ;)

LarryHart said...

@greg byshenk,

Movies often quote from other movies as an inside joke. I wouldn't know if the gag from "Escape From New York" was homaging "Big Jake" because I never saw the latter. One of the great disappointments of my late father's life was that he couldn't convince my brother and me to be interested in seeing "Big Jake" at the time it was out in theaters (late 60s? early 70s?). He thought it would be a good father/son bonding thing, and we just weren't into westerns.

Now that I miss the man, dang, I could have taken one for the team.

greg byshenk said...

@LarryHart,

I don't recall the line from 'Escape from New York', but I think it must be referencing 'Big Jake', as the line is something of a running joke in that film.

Jonathan Sills said...

From Maximum Overdrive: "Curtis, are you dead?"

From Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Kirk to Spock just after the Kobayashi Maru test: "Aren't you dead?"

:-)

As for Simpson, I'm pretty doggone white, and I applauded the acquittal - because so far as I could tell, the state failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Simpson killed anyone. (In fact, knowing LA traffic as I do, I found the prosecution's timeline improbable.) If the standard for a capital crime is not met at trial, the defendant should be acquitted, per the wise words of Benjamin Franklin: "That it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer, is a Maxim that has been long and generally approved."

David Brin said...

Please use locumranch's full monicker when he is clearly trying to be cogent and is laying off the strawmanning? We want to reward this. Even though - (sigh) - he is still wrong about everything. Except some Etymology points.

Look, the one thing found in almost every study of brain activity, brain chemistry and personality is that Republicans are very very fearful people. And writhing is stark terror, now that they are confederates. This helps to explain why it's redder good ol' boys who are screeching over terrorism, despite the fact that city folk are the targets, and we can see that our parents in the 1940s suffered worse damage in any given week than we have across the entire "War on Terror."

Not one thing that the screechers ever accuse Obama of ever came true. Not one, at all, ever. Nor, (with a few blemishes) the Clintons. Utterly scandal free and free of a scintilla of gun-seizing and black helicopters or even a whiff of corruption.

Logical assertions can be disproved... but not fear-drenched hysterias.

David Brin said...

onward

onward