Saturday, June 03, 2017

How dangerous is Republican manic-depressive disease? Both bipolar phases are destructive, but the manic ones kill.

== A weaponized narrative ==

Joel Garreau writes about how our latest strategic worry – “weaponized narrative” -- seeks to undermine an opponent’s civilization, identity, and will by generating complexity, confusion, and political and social schisms. It can be used tactically, as part of explicit military or geopolitical conflict; or strategically, as a way to reduce, neutralize, and defeat a civilization, state, or organization. Done well, it limits or even eliminates the need for armed force to achieve political and military aims.

“Far from being simply a U.S. or U.K. phenomenon, shifts to “post-factualism” can be seen in Poland, Hungary, Turkey, France, and the Philippines, among other democracies. Russia, whose own political culture is deeply post-factual and indeed post-modern, is now ably constructing ironic, highly cynical, weaponized narratives that were effective in the Ukrainian invasion, and are now destabilizing the Baltic states and the U.S. election process.”

Let me add the obvious. Moscow has been building an anti-western alliance that now stretches from Ankara, Damascus and (arguably) the mullah faction of Iran, all the way to Manilla. Geographically vaster than the old Soviet Empire -- especially if you include sympathetic cooperation in Beijing -- it is no longer based on communist ideology but on bald-faced oligarchy and hatred of all aspects of Western Enlightenment, especially democracy.

Garreau continues: “By offering cheap passage through a complex world, weaponized narrative furnishes emotional certainty at the cost of rational understanding. The emotionally satisfying decision to accept a weaponized narrative — to believe, to have faith — inoculates cultures, institutions, and individuals against counterarguments and inconvenient facts.”

I've talked about weaponized narrative for decades. A couple of months ago I gave an extended, three hour mini-course on "Threat Perspectives" at one of the military/intel colleges, and drew gasps from the audience, when I showed 1998 slides describing methods that might be used against us in the future.  These included "imposition of disinformation upon the U.S. populace" and "subornation of elements of U.S. leadership castes." 

And yes, those slides were from presentations to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency and other groups, way back in the last century. 

And no, since you ask. Nobody listened then. They assumed I was talking implausible sci fi, even though these have been standard methodologies used by hostile empires ever since Sun Tzu.

As the train conductor chided, in the movie Top Secret: "I warned you... (a lot more than) TWICE!"

== War as a symptom of political bipolar disease ==

Under the Bushes we had “neoconservatives” or “neocons” like Wolfowitz, Nitze, Perle, Adelman, who concocted rationalizations for both Iraq Wars and the quagmire in Afghanistan. These followers of a bizarre emigre philosopher named Leo Strauss openly admitted that Saddam Hussein had nothing to do with terror attacks against the U.S. or its interests, or ever had Weapons of Mass Destruction. 

When pressed, the neocons proclaimed that their goal was for America to assert its imperial power, not in the wimpy, mostly-peaceful ways established by Marshall, Truman, and Eisenhower, but by imposing our will directly upon the world.  That word — “will” — was used with such frequency and romantic passion that many of us were reminded of Leni Reifenstahl.

What surface frosting was supposed to make this palatable? The notion that our forceful will would impose, teach, and justify democracy around the world, finishing the job that began with the fall of the USSR. The neocons’ favorite catechism was taken straight from Leo Strauss, “we’re an empire; we should act like one.” (Never mind that this was the very mode of thinking that had torched Strauss’s European homeland, wreaking hell on Earth and turning him into an ingrate-refugee.)

Ah, but the neocons’ time in the sun was brief. As pain from the bungled Iraq and Afghanistan wars set in, George W. Bush and the GOP turned on the Straussians with stunning speed, tossing overboard fellows like Wolfowitz, Perle, Adelman, Nitze, when their stock of rationalization incantations were no longer useful. 

That briefly-manic, sick-but-utopian era swung to the other side of U.S. conservatism’s bipolar disease, a more typical grumpy cynicism, in which the GOP’s sole purpose became to prevent action of any sort, especially if it might benefit the nation with Obama getting credit. Hence, except for Supply Side vampire guzzles for the top 5000 families, almost  no negotiation or legislation was allowed. Especially not infrastructure repair, which would have released high velocity cash into the lower middle class.

Oh, but pendulums swing. Now the Republican Party is back in power and signs of a fresh manic phase are abundant. Senior military officers can read these tea leaves and are deeply worried, as men like Steve Bannon make grand, new, “philosophical” declarations in favor of violent, imperial over-reach -- above all yearning for war with Iran.

The newest, manic rationalizations no longer speak of “spreading democracy.” That neocon patina of democratic proselytism is gone. Now, Bannon and his alt-right buddies foam with their own brew of teleology, racism, confederatism and apocalyptic yearnings.  

There are layers to this bitter new cake. Underlying it all is yet more supply-side-vampiric craving, the will of the party's masters. Next, the dominionist-endtimes thing is very real, and would take priority under any President Pence (take note, you "impeach now" fools).  Another layer is the "deep state" meme of hatred toward fact-centered public servants, now including military and intel officers. And finally, there is "cyclical history" -- the utterly disproved insanity pushed by yet another Strauss (&Howe) in a cult incantation called "The Fourth Turning." Bosh and twaddle that makes Marxist teleology look positively scientific.

These Crazy Years were cogently predicted in the 1950s by Robert A. Heinlein.

== Do I exaggerate the manic-depressive Republican syndrome? ==

In this article,  Flemming Rose describes a meeting with Bannon that sounds strikingly similar to press interviews with neocons, back in early, pre-911 days of the G.W. Bush White House, frothing with justifications for a coming rampage of American imperial power. Specifically, Bannon rages that we are “at war with Islam," despite the fact that we so vastly overshadow that world, in power, wealth, science, technology culture and numbers that comparisons are ludicrous. Oh, and our  parents endured more pain and casualties during any one week of World War Two than we wimps have, across the entire War on Terror.  And those parents never panicked, screeching as these neo-neocons do.

To be clear, Rose knows about Islamic Terror:  I was the target of Islamist ire for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a Danish newspaper. But a war against all Muslims is not the solution.”

Rose soon discovered that War against Muslims — very likely a trumped-up assault against Iran — is only a means to mobilize the nation and take firm hold of our military, not the end in itself: Bannon is angry. The object of his anger is the “globalized elite.” He argued that Trump is just the beginning of a rebellion that will grow increasingly aggressive in the coming years. In a way, he told me, Trump is not the real thing ― only a premonition of what will ultimately come. “Just wait and see,” he said.”

Oh, please read those Heinlein quotations, again and again.

Another passage makes clearer the passionate — manic phase - the spirit of ordination and transcendentalism that has returned to the halls of the White House: 

“Ronald Radosh, a social historian affiliated with the conservative Hudson Institute, wrote recently about talking to Bannon at a book party in November 2013. According to Radosh, the guy who is now Trump’s chief strategist proclaimed himself a “Leninist.” According to Radosh, Bannon explained his Leninist tactics this way: “Lenin 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.”

Further: “What disturbed me the most in our conversation was Bannon’s apparent belief that violence and war can have a cleansing effect, that we may need to tear down things and rebuild them from scratch.”

The thing about transcendentalist mystics is that they make such declarations without being able to cite even a single example! All of our progress, across the years since 1776, has come from the positive-sum efforts of mature, calm, negotiating adults and builders. Yes, we have had to fight, at times.  But always against the guys who want to ‘tear-down and cleanse.’

In fact, the specific target chosen by the Bannononites is not the point! He is very clear about his ultimate goal. And -- washed free of all disguises and trappings -- it is to be Nathan Holn.

111 comments:

Treebeard said...

Yeah, and this story about Russian election-meddling, Trump being Putin's puppet, etc. is a great example of a weaponized narrative. Nothing annoys the narrative weaponeers more than getting beaten at their own game. You mentioned neocons; this story of a grand conspiracy centered in Moscow looks about as solid as their Axis of Evil or Saddam's WMDs to me. They love to push the preposterous "Russia is the root of all evil" narrative too. Remind again how you're different from them?

Tony Fisk said...

Sarah Kendzior has been pointing out Bannon's manifesto (echoed by Trump verbatim) for some time now. You must tear things to shreds in order to Make America Great Again.

Tim Wolter said...

"Do I exaggerate the manic-depressive Republican syndrome?"

I'm going with yes.

Consider the possibility that your audience at the unspecified Spook Academy listened to your spiel and thought it sounded paranoid.

Secret cabals are - in my opinion - fairly rare and hard to maintain. The lack of competence of people thrown into unexpected roles of power is painfully obvious. I mean, how many of the early Trump admin members actually believed there was a chance of them winning? How many had time to do real prep work, to get solid advice?

I am particularly taken with how tinfoil the whole Dominionist thing sounds. I suppose it is necessary to put Pence into a black frame with blood red lighting....he does btw seem to be yet another exception to your mantra that Republicans never choose qualified VPs. Congressman, govenor of a mid sized, middle America state. He has more obvious qualifications for a political leadership role than either the current or most recent occupant of the Oval office. Who knows, Trump may decide one term is enough ego stroking and hand the keys over to his veep?

I seldom agree with Treebeard but he beat me to the obvious point that if you are looking for a "weaponized narrative" with little or no solid facts you can start with the whole Russians hacking the election for that Nazi/Commie/almost rapist Donald Trump.

You know me. I am not a member of either political party. I did not vote for Trump and find the man objectionable. You can dismiss my observations, hey why not? But if your goal is to restore a measure of political balance that I concur is much needed this sort of screed is a step in the wrong direction.

Cheers

T.

LarryHart said...

@Treebeard,

Does this sound as if Dr Brin thinks Russia is the source of all evil?


Next, the dominionist-endtimes thing is very real, and would take priority under any President Pence (take note, you "impeach now" fools).

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

In fact, the specific target chosen by the Bannononites is not the point! He is very clear about his ultimate goal. And -- washed free of all disguises and trappings -- it is to be Nathan Holn.


And we can only hope--albeit cynically--that you correctly predicted the character of the society in "The Postman" in which warring clans would put aside their differences and work in concert to root out and destroy Holnists in their area.

LarryHart said...

@donzelion,

In the last thread, you spoke of your belief that a certain member of this group would be helpful when the chips were down.

I have no idea how old you are or what tv shows you might have watched as a kid. Myself, one of the last Saturday morning kid shows that I was interested in back around 1975 was "Land of the Lost". There was one memorable bit where a rational and Spock-like Sleestak had come through time, believing that the barbaric Sleestak our protagonists regularly encountered to be his ancestors before they learned to control their anger. Toward the end, he made a chilling discovery that haunts me to this day, and that I can still remember practically verbatim:


I have made a grave error.

I have not come back in time, but forward.

The Sleestak are not my ancestors. They are the barbaric descendants of a race who could no longer keep its anger in check.

This is not my past. This is my future.


I was only 14 at the time, but I understood why that revelation was devastatingly chilling.

With that in mind, when I read loc's bit about being a former lifeguard...

A prior lifeguard, rescue diver & ambulance attendant here. Why would I mock the protector caste to which I belong? The public will provide such mockery soon enough when it seeks to monetise the harm that any rescuer was unable to prevent. Then, the lawyers will come to visit & demand compensation for an imperfect rescue and, soon, the protectors will learn to doubt & 'second guess' the wisdom of their bravery, self-sacrifice & good intentions


...I get the vibe of a barbaric descendant who can no longer keep his anger in check.

carol said...

Hoping we can soon get to the suggestions for surviving and combatting these people.

Zepp Jamieson said...

There's a germane article in today's WaHoPo, which apparently has belatedly realised it needs to act like a real, live journalistic entity if it wishes to survive. The article is about the shadow empire, a mash of neo-cons, fresh-water economists and Dominionists and how they basically subverted the media and took over the GOP.
http://tinyurl.com/yanf22pz

In the wake of yesterday's attack on London Bridge and the Borough, and the withdrawal from the Paris accord, it's difficult to imagine that Trump is trying to do anything other than shatter the Western alliance. Which plays right into the hands of all these disparate neo-fascist outfits, including, of course, Putin.

LarryHart said...

@carol,

This article, which someone posted under the previous thread, is a good start:

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/5/31/15713838/inoculation-climate-change-denial


...
Both Cook and van der Linden say that while we do tend to resist facts that challenge our defining values, that defensive reaction can be circumvented. Previous studies by van der Linden and others show that the scientific consensus on the magnitude and causes of climate change can serve as what van der Linden calls a “gateway belief,” in that its acceptance can be a first step toward a more comprehensive change of views.

“Consensus messages don’t ask people to change their beliefs — they ask them to change their opinion about what other people believe, so they’re not a direct threat to their identity,” says van der Linden. “We’ve found that they’re one way to get people more aligned on the side of climate science.” Because consensus opinions from a respected group tend to be accepted as much if not more readily by conservatives than liberals, he says, they appear to decrease rather than increase polarization.
...


There's much more.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Which plays right into the hands of all these disparate neo-fascist outfits, including, of course, Putin.


But Treebeard says that Putin's not ambitious.
And Treebeard is an honorable man.

(These things write themselves!)

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: "But Treebeard says that Putin's not ambitious."

He might have a point. I've heard that once you've made your first $50 billion, it's hard to get incentive to get up in the morning and join the rat race.

Marino said...

Just to nitpick about Bannon-as-Leninist: he's using that term just for shock value for the US public.
He's conflating two issues:

Lenin as revolutionary, who "destroyed" the Russian state only when he believed that there was a ripe alternative evolved from grassroot initiative (the worker's councils sprouting all over Russia. He was sadly wrong, but he wasn't a "let's crash & burn the system for the sake of it" guy. Where are the new institutions bound to supplant the old ones in Bannon's view?)

and Lenin as utopian thinker wishing the withering away of the state (which was more or less a saner form of libertarianism: once everyone has his needs satisfied and is accustomend to have some decent self control, you don't need repression either in order to keep a class/power structure or to prevent individual acts of violence. Think "post scarcity society meets the best angels of our nature" )

(odd typo I managed to correct: I wrote "cats" instead of "acts" in the line above. Ah, the mind control of my feline overlord, who's anmed after a Honorverse treecat :-)

Marino said...

"But Treebeard says that Putin's not ambitious.
And Treebeard is an honorable man."

So if Putin is ambitious, therefore Treebeard ISN'T an honorable man?
But Putin IS ambitious... :-)

LarryHart said...

I guess everybody didn't have to memorize Mark Antony's soliloquy from Julius Caesar in high school.


But Brutus says he was ambitious.
And Brutus is an honorable man.

locumranch said...


War results from incompatible preference, what our family courts like to describe as 'irreconcilable differences', coupled with righteous indignation & politically correct tribalism. It does not require an emotionally-labile mental illness.

It can start simply enough:

Two individuals partial to ice cream use their shared preference as the basis of a partnership or dessert alliance; the flavour preferences of the first & second party diverge over time, one toward chocolate & the other toward vanilla, but such minor differences are easily surmountable; the first party develops lactose intolerance & attempts to amend the basis of their partnership to include various baked goods; the second party cites a personal history of gluten-intolerance & counter-offers with the inclusion of non-dairy sherbets; the first party cites a strong dispreference for water-based snacks & insists on cooperative baked good consumption; the second party restates his ice cream preference & dispreference for baked goods. Both parties have arrived at an impasse.

Things are about to go from bad to worse.

The first party suggests amicable separation, the second party demands reconciliation & all verbal attempts at renegotiation fail. Both parties consider various punitive actions & eventually institute them to some degree; both attempt the unilateral elimination/preservation of their dispreferred/preferred dessert; and both parties accuse the other of intolerance, irrationality & mental illness. Since neither party allows the other party to fully disengage, the conflict escalates, followed by the inclusion & entanglement of other militant dessert factions motivated by their own unique preference, resulting in the 'Great Dessert War' to end all dessert wars.

The above 'Dessert War' scenario is silly, I agree, but dismiss this analogy at your own risk because it is no sillier than the growing divide between the Right & Left, Conservative & Progressive and Supporter & Denier.

Having been through my own 'Dessert War' and having suffered from ongoing violence, financial depredations & PTSD, I strongly recommend the amicable separation option called 'Balkanisation', currently made unavailable by our enlightened collective culture, as indignant blame-casting & punitive measures represent a self-escalating & self-perpetuating cycle.

Let us agree to disagree: I prefer what I prefer; you prefer what you prefer; I won't tread on you if you don't tread on me; and remember that those made miserable make miserable company.

And, for those of you who favour involuntary partnership instead, consider me neutral in the sense that a heavily fortified, insular & armed WW2-era Switzerland was neutral.

Leave me be.


Best

David Brin said...

Treebeard hypocrite.National security is not like putting a citizen on trial for a crime. You do not have to prove”beyond reasonable doubt” in order to know that something is terribly wrong and that counter measures need to be set in motion.

“Sure the Nazi armies heading for Warsaw appear to be bent on rapacious conquest. But Himmler claims they started it by attacking a radio station in Germany! And look at the dead bodies he presented! So let’s just wait and see.” Or: “All the Japanese-looking planes that attacked Pearl Harbor COULD have been faked by the Chinese, to get us into the war! So let’s wait and see.”

When suspicious coincidences and circumstantial evidence piles this high, we need to act.

“this story of a grand conspiracy centered in Moscow looks about as solid as their Axis of Evil or Saddam's WMDs to me.”

Yes! Absolutely! We can all tell that it looks like that to you! The variability of delusional humanity is amazing and thanks for the example.

In fact, Putin and others in Moscow have OPENLY called for an axis of resistance to decadent western values. And every single thing that Trump does is in a direction that weakens America, or its alliances, or its science or technology. Every foreign gambit helps to drive dictators in Ankara and Tehran and Manilla into Putin’s arms. When effects are consistent and recur hundreds of times, there remains only one possible cause. Hypocrite and traitor.

Commie.

David Brin said...

As for poor old locum, my cousin Burt Baskin and his brother in law had ice cream parlors that became Baskin Robbins. You haven’t a clue how ice cream works.

And no, we won’t “leave you be” to wage war on every fact profession and to demolish every single thing that made America powerful and a force for good in the world. We will not “leave you be” to conspire with those who want armageddon.

We will not “leave you be” to destroy science. We will not “leave you be” to demolish equality under the law and recreate feudalism, under which the old oligarchs will never, ever, ever again leave US be.

When your mad cult stops waging war upon us, and resumes the astonishing miracle of negotiation, based upon falsifiable statements that are cheerfully either proved or disproved… when you cultists stop spewing volcanic hate at us… yeah… then we will “leave you be” - That’s all we want.

In fact, I’ll be your ally then, against the FAR-left’s would be oppressor bullies! How ‘bout that?

David Brin said...

Tim/Tacitus, yeah, yeah, ostrich blah blah minimize-rationalize. Have you ever actually listened to a dominionist sermon-rant? Now multiply by tens of thousands of such ravings, every sunday. They have no wish to negotiate with us. They want us dead. They say so, openly. They want us dead and then they get to have our stuff.

Note that you say nothing about that or the absolute purity of Pence surrounding himself with such people.

No, instead you nit-pick about Pence not being “officially qualified.” And I will concede that he is officially as qualified as Kane was… Don’t count Obama because he was chosen by the people, not by one nominee to be a running mate. Only note that Virginia was pretty well-run. Indiana is a shambles, thopugh not as bad as many other red states. Does that matter in “qualified?”

“if you are looking for a "weaponized narrative" with little or no solid facts”

I am not responsible for your laziness in not reading any of the references I have cited documenting weaponized narrative.

Your cherrypicking conveniently ignores that every single fact checking service is rapidly declared “partisan” by the fanatical right and its masters and minions and they NEVER consider suggesting HOW we can set up a non-partisan fact-checking service that would be capable of acceptably saying “untrue” to their tsunami of lies.

How could anything be more important? The utter perfection of the right’s fact-avoidance behavior is spectacular, pure, and ought to persuade any sane person. OSTP is dying, the CBO is a declared enemy. Snopes is satanic. NOAA and NASA are now forbidden to look at the Earth… to even LOOK at it!

None of that is Trumpism. That is the madness of today’s entire US right. And claiming to be neutral is like being Lindbergh in 1940.

Ed Seedhouse said...

All I can say is that for a man who has done nothing wrong, Trump is certainly doing everything possible to give the impression that he has. Why would an innocent man fire the man who is investigating him?

Mind you, rather have an incompetent child with some power than cool calculation (and insane) Pence and his gang. As long as they keep giving Trump the wrong codes...

Tim Wolter said...

In Response

"Have you ever actually listened to a dominionist sermon-rant?"

Nope. Midwest Lutherans tend to be pretty much as Garrison Keillor portrays us.

"I am not responsible for your laziness in not reading any of the references I have cited documenting weaponized narrative."

A false assumption on your part. And a tedious bit of reading they were.

"...the right’s fact-avoidance behavior..."

My point was that invective of this tenor will have zero effect on changing the attitudes of either Right Wing or Moderate citizens. You are continuing to make my point for me.

But on the topic of perceived reality, may I offer something up?

------

The latest Economist/YouGov poll found 58 percent of Democrats saying that it is “probably true” or “definitely true” that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”

-------------

I know this is probably one of those polls where methodology is suspect, but seriously, a Majority of Democrats believe it True or Likely True that vote tallies were altered by Russia? Not selective release of true documents....but actual numbers being altered in the Ol' Diebold machines.

This is a view that you have flirted with if not perhaps openly espoused. Never mind that the closest scrutiny of a surprising Election Day result, here in Wisconsin, showed no evidence of vote tampering whatsoever.

Your thoughts?

T.

Tony Fisk said...

My thoughts, T, are that the respondents may not have thought too deeply about the specific nature of the interference. Just thought "Did Russia interfere with elections?" not "how".

Electoral tweaks are subject to discovery, and would have to be low key for that reason (assuming doors get unlocked). A more chilling possibility is covered in a recent article about Cambridge Analytica* using psych war techniques to target favourably leaning people on social media (Facebook in particular) and feed them ads that nudged in the (alt) right direction. What you need to realise is that this technique is stealthy. You probably wouldn't have seen it. I certainly wouldn't have. Clearly a lot of pundits didn't either. David's much-maligned crazy old Uncle, on the other hand...)

This hyperpartisan landscape reminds me of the paranoia inspired alien invasion tales of the 50's/60's. Americans may opt for Heinlein's "Puppet Masters", but (with an English background) I find John Christopher's account of how the Tripods came to more apt. Failing to make an impression militarily, the Masters opted to bombard Humanity, and prepare them for the more nuanced 'capping', with a brain washing TV series. People didn't realise that "Hail the Tripod" was more than just another geek craze until it was too late. A silly scenario in some ways. And yet...

"Be seeing you"?

* Can't find the ref offhand. I'll go rootling if you wish.

Tim Wolter said...

Tony

Loved the Tripods!

As to respondents not thinking too deeply, the question was worded as I quoted it and seems quite specific. "tampered with vote tallies".

Now if you want to say that there are Low Information Voters out there, sure. But you are tiptoeing towards that sign with the skull and crossbones that says "Warning, Mines".

T.

LarryHart said...

Tim Wolter:

The latest Economist/YouGov poll found 58 percent of Democrats saying that it is “probably true” or “definitely true” that “Russia tampered with vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected President.”


You may be taking a too narrow view of what constitutes "vote tallies", or at least the respondents may have been taking a wider one. Had I been asked that question, I'd have answered yes, meaning that Russia performed activities which altered the way people voted. Only if it was rigorously explained that the question meant only "mechanically altered the count as reported on machines" would I have tempered my response to "They might have, but I don't really know".


but actual numbers being altered in the Ol' Diebold machines.


Someone above mentioned that for an innocent man, Trump is sure acting like he has something to hide. The same is true for Diebold machines. They may be completely accurate, but why isn't there any way to verify that? The corporation sure acts like they have something to hide.


This is a view that you have flirted with if not perhaps openly espoused. Never mind that the closest scrutiny of a surprising Election Day result, here in Wisconsin, showed no evidence of vote tampering whatsoever.


It shows no evidence of tampering with the totals from those who were allowed to vote. Do they show anything about how many voters were dropped from the rolls, denied the vote because of lack of approved form of ID, or had too few machines at their local polling place? Those are kinds of vote tampering, Your Honor.

Katy Williams said...

I'd take a close look at the people running our media, especially Fox News' involvement in the wrecking USA elections,brainwashing and alienating people to the point where those who were rabid "anti Russia" right wingers are now perfectly OK with Russian meddling: bribing, assassinating and propagandizing, and probably hacking the voting machines themselves, not just DNC databases. No one pointed out that even tho Russia is no longer masquerading as a socialist/communist country, they are just as much a vicious a totalitarian dictatorship as they always were, yea back to the days of the Tsars. They are still our enemy.

This situation owes a lot to R Murdoch, and to the CEO's of NBC, ABC, CBS and all the other copycat news outlets that danced and clapped and cheered the imbeciles (not just Trumpus, but the Bushes & yes, Reagan) into office, and praised them for their destructive actions.

David Brin said...


Tim: “that vote tallies were altered by Russia?” Come on! That’s a semantic trap and you know it! I never claimed democrats are immune to lazy leaping to unjustified conclusions… so long as they are in the same general direction as truth, many will do the human thing.

In fact… I am shocked that 42 % actually saw through this polemical trap and parsed the difference!

Go ahead and lecture to us… after 25 years and a billion dollars of investigations never came up with a single malfeasance by a single Clintonite. Yet any republican will call them “the most corrupt.” That’s not exaggeration of a true trend. That is swallowing poison opposite-to-true koolaid.

Seriously, if Diebold machines are so honest, why do they frantically avoid every kind of accountability, testing and supervision?

National security does not require: “Innocent tioll proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt.” National security says Trump not releasing his taxes, when there’s a stench of sellout to a hostile power, constitutes a blaring, screaming call of clear and present danger to our country.

Duncan Cairncross said...

"Never mind that the closest scrutiny of a surprising Election Day result, here in Wisconsin, showed no evidence of vote tampering whatsoever."

As far as I can remember that "closest scrutiny" turned into a long distance shuftie with all sorts of obstacles and discrepancies
Some of the discrepancies - vote totals not adding up - were large enough for any fair observer to have rejected the votes and required a do-over

One of the strange things that I have noticed with the US system is that dates and deadlines have incredible importance
It seems to be vastly more important to get everything finished by the due date than to have actual accurate vote tallies

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch: the more perfect society that we all seem desire here, from the ground up

Yah. Improvement would be good, but I'm not going to engage the ground up exercise. The problem isn't an unwillingness to talk about differences of opinion and visions and all that. It's just that a ground up exercise is essentially what the libertarians do and it ensures they will remain ineffective. It's a sure bet that when men turn to what the social contract should be, we VASTLY underestimate what it actually is, thus plant our heads firmly up our own behinds in the eyes of those watching us do it. No matter what we suggest, there will always, always, always be something we missed which will piss off someone and turn the discussion into emotional hot water with a strong hint of sulfur. We make our own hells, but I don't enjoy doing so. 8)

It is far safer to focus on small things and ask what we want about them and what we might do to get what we want. Tiny things like why a certain person thinks another certain person is a louse. Information get exchanged that way and everyone learns something. Opinions might even change, but the learning is more important because in that we find ways to tolerate each other. We get closer to letting others be because we know what they will be.

Should, ought, and supposed to are going to be part of the human condition for a very long time. One of our virtues in the western system is Justice and she is all about such things. She is the lady of social expectations. We learn them, meet them, and add to them, or choose to go live in a cave in isolation. She is truly ancient and not prone to compromise. I know too many libertarians who try to dictate to her. It doesn't work. You live in a world that contains people who see things differently. It is best to adapt because some of them WILL take your side even if they don't agree completely.

as most of our political conversations quickly devolve

A big part of that is your inability to fathom the arguments being made here. You obviously aren't stupid, so I suspect it is a deeper memetic conflict. Consider this simple game for two people.

The first player conditionally receives a sum of money from a referee and proposes how to divide the sum between them and a second player (not the referee). The second player chooses to either accept or reject this proposal. If the second player accepts, the money is split according to the proposal. If the second player rejects, neither player receives any money. The game is played only once.

Many things are possible, right? Does the range of possibilities change if the two players know they will play more than once? Does it change if the first player finds the money and gets to be the referee? Does it change if the second player is asked to surrender something they have for the offer?

Games like these can be found going on around us all the time. We are playing one right now, you and I. Do you know the rules for it? They aren't written in our social contract, but Lady Justice knows them. You probably do to. If not, you 'should.' 8)

locumranch said...



"Trump is sure ACTING like he has something to hide" is a brilliant way to spin those accusations, Joseph McCarthy couldn't have said it better, but I prefer the more mature fart-worthy accusation of 'He who smelt it, dealt it'. Either way, it's a win-win positive sum slander as Trump's complicity is confirmed regardless of response or evidence.

But, what's the big deal if Russia did try to influence the US elections? Everybody does it, from Canada to Saudi Arabia, spending many millions annually to openly lobby & curry the favour of the US House, Senate & established political parties, although the USA is probably more successful at this than the lot (including Russia) with the billions it spends on 'foreign aid' & clandestine action, dating back to halcyon days of the Latin American 'Banana Wars'.

David's bellicose bellowings are down-right delicious, guaranteed to bring pleasure to Treebeard & Anarcho-Capitalists everywhere, because nothing screams 'progressive enlightenment' more eloquently than the promise 'To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women'.

'Trump EVIL' screams the BBC, CNN & US public media, so much so that if this weaponised narrative continues for much longer, many US citizens may find open warfare preferable to globalism's ongoing covert war of behavioral manipulation, mass media indoctrination, universal surveillance & the elimination of sovereign freedoms referenced by the "Be seeing you' quote (The Prisoner, 1967).

Best
____
Putin is hardly a 'commie', btw, having more in common with the oligarchic Koch Brothers than Lenin or Trotsky. Putin is less of a commie than most progressives.

Alfred Differ said...

locumranch | what's the big deal if Russia did try to influence the US elections?

Oh come now. Do you get any news at all from outside sources?

This isn't just a problem. It is a !#$%@$ THEM ALL kind of problem. It is a go to war kind of problem. Putin's people are taking huge risks. Krushev did stupid stuff like that too.

It's not that he is a commie. He is a dictator. He is a well trained Russian strongman. His preferences are not compatible with ours. Period. End of Story.

Marino said...

"It's not that he is a commie."
Agreed. Communists belonged more or less to the some set of Western values (so when Soviet Communism didn't deliver its promises, many changed their minds, falling back to social democracy or liberalism. ) Putin doesn't. Pardon the pun, he really sees WEIRD societies as weird. And decadent, weak, morally corrupt. He may be a Russian patriot, but on the whole he looks like a kind of nihilist, someone who wants chaos because the larger the cracks, the more he'll be able to creep inside. Look at his support for anti EU loony populist right. Now, is chaos and the axis of dictatoras something useful for Russian long term interests? it's really questionable.

Tony Fisk said...

Tim: Yes, it is carefully worded, but was it carefully understood? ie was it presented for consideration as part of a paper questionnaire, or as part of a string of questions on a phone survey? What other questions were asked? What was the value for folk identifying as Republican? Green? Non-voters?

Anyway, what is your point? That Democrats are paranoid? Are they any more or less so than the general populace? Is 58% a significant variance given the sample?

(approaching sign with R Studio up and clicking. ;-)

Tony Fisk said...

"Putin is hardly a commie"

Nobody else has suggested he was.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: I spent quite a few years in undergrad under the misbegotten tutelage of Straussians (every professor in the department came straight from Claremont, where Strauss took up his final academic home after Chicago ousted him as a charlatan theorist). It's worth bearing in mind the different flavors of madness among those various leaders guiding this set of feudalists.

Pence is a problematic case: Dominionist? Maybe. He certainly courts dominionists. But it's hard to pin his actual views down - certainly loyal to his evangelical wing beyond anything else. Dominionists have no problem with a war against Islam: to them, it's inevitable anyway, so why not start sooner than later (preemptive strikes...).

Only a handful of neocons really embraced Strauss. To Strauss, war is a 'useful' endeavor, as virtue (according to his definition) can only be actualized during war; however, wars should ideally be against weaker adversaries...splendid little wars are better than giant, unwinnable ones, as they restore vigor and remind otherwise illiterate folks who belongs to a proper aristocracy, while binding those with merit to those with money who enable them to actualize that merit. Islam? Not the enemy. But Iraq, and any other Muslim country? To them, fantastic enemies.

Bannon & Co are much closer to Carl Schmitt. For Schmitt, war against Islam is useful as a means, because any specific war will clarify 'friends' and 'foes' and facilitate greater control over friends (and not just overseas, but more importantly, at home). To Schmitt, war against Iraq and/or Iran, done properly, will enrich and empower very specific Americans, and weaken very specific adversaries. Behind the Straussians, you'll find a number of Schmittians with the money and influence who put them into positions of power to serve their own interests.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: I have a vague recollection of the episode of 'Land of the Lost' you mentioned...but the plot twist seems apt.

"The Sleestak are not my ancestors. They are the barbaric descendants of a race who could no longer keep its anger in check."
;-) At least Locum isn't a reptile. Or were they amphibians?

With that in mind, when I read loc's bit about being a former lifeguard...I get the vibe of a barbaric descendant who can no longer keep his anger in check.
Never having met Locum, my interpretation of his tone and tenor is a bit more forgiving. For example, when he claims - "'Trump EVIL' screams the BBC, CNN & US public media" - I wonder whether he has watched such media, or is simply imagining (or getting Foxified). Makes me think that he has an ugly sleestak-suited beast hissing nasty thoughts into his ears - as opposed to the good man I think he still may be.

When he warns -
"many US citizens may find open warfare preferable to globalism's ongoing covert war of behavioral manipulation, mass media indoctrination, universal surveillance & the elimination of sovereign freedoms"

-I keep chuckling, wondering why he thinks the guys who do NOT have the money are fighting this war, why he gives the benefit of the doubt to the guys who do have that money, and why he thinks that privately-owned media takes any position that opposes the money holders. When one stops to think, he's not far off with concern about 'behavioral manipulation' (every single advertisement financing 'mainstream' media seeks to influence behavior) - I am not certain how that is distinct from 'mass media' indoctrination (seems like the same thing to me), or why he thinks Dems are worse than Reps on 'universal surveillance.' At the very least, Obama tried to ban cable networks and ISPs from selling user data; reversing that was one of Trump's first 'achievements.'

If I remember correctly, there was a 'Land of the Lost' character who was a confederate soldier. I imagine Locum as that old soldier, grouchy and irritable, but ultimately, he's all right.



If his approach to venting anger is to spout things here with which I disagree, sometimes vehemently, then it's at least significantly better than .... what was it the sleestaks wanted to do? Eat the kids? Who knows.

Jumper said...

I liked that locumranch framed those questions. Especially in light of U.S. hypocrisy at least among the intelligent. I am sure many silly people here never questioned if the U.S. employed PR, or more, in foreign elections. It's the first time they ever considered it.

Some important ones went unasked, however. "Why did Putin want Trump to win?" That's probably the most important. "What do Putin and Trump have in common?" "What is Trump hiding in his finances?" (Sorry; that is not business as usual.)

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Games like these can be found going on around us all the time. We are playing one right now, you and I. Do you know the rules for it? They aren't written in our social contract, but Lady Justice knows them. You probably do to. If not, you 'should.' 8)


I was also going to mention that certain norms of behavior, such as "waiting your turn in line", are things that we understand and have an internal sense of even before we are taught. Kindergarten children will feel that "something is wrong" if someone cuts in line ahead of them. Even some animals understand this. That sense of what rules are being followed and what rules are being violated is what one means by "should". It doesn't mean that everyone always does follow them. It means we react accordingly when someone does what he "should not".

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

"Trump is sure ACTING like he has something to hide" is a brilliant way to spin those accusations,


You say that like it's a bad thing.

:)

Jumper said...

"many silly people here" means "here in the USA."

Tim Wolter said...

Because I really can't add anything that would enhance the message, I will just let this stand on its own.
---------------------------
"I never claimed democrats are immune to lazy leaping to unjustified conclusions… so long as they are in the same general direction as truth, many will do the human thing."
---------------------------
So noted.

LarryHart did raise an interesting tangent. If there is in fact no evidence of Russians altering vote tallies ("Comrad Bannon, ve need another 28 votes from ziz place called Manitowoc") there is a legitimate question of what impact more restrictive voter registration laws have had.

My own personal observation. On election day a younger woman brought an older one to the polls. Nice people the both of them. The older woman had been told that she needed ID but had not brought any. She no longer had a driver's license. There was still time for her to go home and get ID but I don't think she did. I don't know if it was an R or a D vote that did not happen there but its likely that most elderly people with memory problems will simply vote as they always have.

Tony Fisk. The poll I referenced was an update of an earlier and apparently wide ranging one. I don't have a good link to the update but here is the original. The specific question was on page 62. Much other stuff to chew on.

https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/ljv2ohxmzj/econTabReport.pdf

But I continue to return to my original point. IF you are interested in actually changing the current political climate then screeds, conspiracy theories etc are counter productive. You don't want a dynasty of Trump like Presidents. I don't want that either.

Acknowlege that the country has changed in ways that none of us saw clearly, although I like to think a few of us had glimpses along the way. Saying that its all a horrid dream or a sinister plot will not improve things.

T.

Paul SB said...

I think Katy had a good point to consider here:
“I'd take a close look at the people running our media, especially Fox News' involvement in the wrecking USA elections,brainwashing and alienating people to the point where those who were rabid "anti Russia" right wingers are now perfectly OK with Russian meddling: bribing, assassinating and propagandizing…”

Interesting how certain memes can be called into action to change an enemy into a “friend” with a sufficiently monetized propaganda machine. Old fools might still have some leftover Cold War angst and hatred of all things “red,” but then, Vlad the ImPutin tries very hard to make himself look very “manly” - which is a meme far more ancient than fear of Communism, and one that has particular salience to rural people who tend to work more with muscles, though I must say there is a hell of a lot of “manly” asinine behavior in the cities, too. Just listen to all the Harleys, muscle cars and enormous pick-up driving up and down the city streets at asinine hours of the night, waking up whole neighborhoods, their tailpipes acting as giant middle fingers to the world.

Now think about the “should” rant by our faux rancher. This is very old-school Republican, dating back to the 1960s, at least. It used to be that right wingers would claim (as my Limbaugh-worshipping roommate did back in college) that liberals want to impose their morals on the rest of society - morals like fairness, compassion and justice - and that these moral impositions are both limits on the freedom of citizens and bankrupting to the treasury. But in recent decades this seems to have turned around. Now the conservatives are turning more toward religious moralizing, which was always a big part of their base all the way back anyway. They seem to completely ignore the fact that their moralizing is also an imposition on the freedoms of others.

Funny that locum, like many of his ilk, can cling to this old modus of arguing vehemently against “should” and still pretending that the conservative agenda is somehow “practical” on the one hand, while saying out of the other side of his keyboard that Putin is our friend and his tampering with the election is actually “normal” and “everybody does it.” of course, the “everybody does it” argument has always been the first excuse made by juveniles when caught doing something wrong.

Indeed the ocean of memes mixes many different waters, though some can’t seem to attend to the differences, especially when they are inconvenient to the powerful.

The Russian meddling was more about propaganda than machine rigging - Republican leadership has enough power and connections to rig the voting machines on their own - and if Russia prefers it's main rival to have a Republican in the White House, why would they object, even if they knew about it?

And Tim, you're right that throwing around conspiracy theories is no help, though proving conspiracies might be. The Kremlin is hardly above such manipulation. The hard part is that those who were manipulated are unlikely to accept it with any amount of proof. The Sunk Cost Effect means that they are highly motivated to rationalize it away.

Tim H. said...

Locumranch reminded me of this:
http://noahpinionblog.blogspot.com/2017/06/the-shouting-class.html
And, if the shouting goes on, could lead to "The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing", Frank Zappa
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs_-Maajkos
Tim W., when the GOP's accepted Gold from Billionaires, they should've asked why it had to be in the form of chains.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Joseph McCarthy couldn't have said it better,


And you say that as if it speaks well of McCarthy. No, he "couldn't have said it better" because he's incapable of doing so. So to make use of your usual style, I suppose I should start off with "locumranch is absolutely correct when he asserts that I'm smarter than Joe McCarthy."

Have a nice day.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Either way, it's a win-win positive sum slander as Trump's complicity is confirmed regardless of response or evidence.


Maybe that's because Trump is complicit. If so, there'd simply be no logical way to prove that he isn't, just as there is no way for R. Daneel Olivaw to please prove he's not a robot.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Putin is hardly a 'commie', btw, having more in common with the oligarchic Koch Brothers than Lenin or Trotsky. Putin is less of a commie than most progressives.


You say that as if it somehow implies that progressives should be less hostile toward Putin instead of explaining exactly why progressives caution against his influence. What exactly was this paragraph attempting to imply? "That progressives are inconsistent and stupid"--I get that--but how was it supposed to imply that?

Robert said...

I saw a post by someone here who saw an old lady who no longer had a driver's license get turned away from the polls. I recommend that anyone with an older relative and/or significant other help them get a state ID before the current driver's license expires, if it looks like they shouldn't drive any more. And not just to be able to vote (though, obviously, that's important).

I've come around to David's view that impeachment should be postponed. Justice would demand the he be impeached back on January 21, but we have to play it smart. Personally, I think Pence would be in a quagmire if he got in, but I'm not sure enough to risk it.

David, I agree with (most of) the content of what you are saying, but you're starting to foam. Some "traitors" may just be fools, or even merely misinformed. One of your major themes, which I happen to agree with wholeheartedly, is that indignation is an addictive drug, probably, in terms of brain chemistry, quite literally. Please apply this insight to yourself.

My own take on Russian meddling is still what it was around election time. General destabilization and demoralization though disinformation is what it's about, and the Russians probably didn't hack voting machines - which isn't the same as saying nobody did.

Finally, a nice riddle:
Q: What adjective describes something huuuuge and beauuuutiful like the Trump Administration?
A: Titanic!


Bob Pfeiffer

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

;-) At least Locum isn't a reptile. Or were they amphibians?


I don't think there was any way to tell the difference. As far as I remember, we never saw their babies.


Makes me think that he has an ugly sleestak-suited beast hissing nasty thoughts into his ears - as opposed to the good man I think he still may be.


You're a better man than I am. I don't like giving up on people. When I do, I feel I have done something wrong. It doesn't necessarily mean I am wrong in my predictions, though. Still, it's better that someone like you is around, and vocally so.


If I remember correctly, there was a 'Land of the Lost' character who was a confederate soldier. I imagine Locum as that old soldier, grouchy and irritable, but ultimately, he's all right.


I do believe you are right about that character. He had a cannon with him, or something like that? I first thought you were confusing wars, because one of my favorite episodes had the gang following clues left by a Revolutionary war soldier, but now that I think about it, they only had pages from his diary. He did not appear as an actual on-screen character.


If his approach to venting anger is to spout things here with which I disagree, sometimes vehemently,


My beef with loc is not that we disagree politically. It's that he directs blame and anger and threatens retaliation at the wrong targets.


then it's at least significantly better than .... what was it the sleestaks wanted to do? Eat the kids? Who knows.


Sleestak were like the "bugs" in Heinlein's Starship Troopers in that there was no mechanism for communicating or compromising or respecting between them and us. They attempted to kill humans (and pakuni) who they encountered--presumably for food, but possibly just to hold territory--and any encounter was them or us. For that reason, warring with them is not so much like "harming a fellow being" as it is "survival against an immediate threat." Encounters between different bands of modern humans shouldn't have to be that way. The response to those who would become Sleestak in that way--who make themselves into uncompromising and relentless enemies of everyone who is not them--is correctly portrayed in the attitude shown toward Holnists in Dr Brin's The Postman.

LarryHart said...

Jumper:

Some important ones went unasked, however. "Why did Putin want Trump to win?" That's probably the most important.


It's hard to remember our thought processes way back in 2016, but until very close to the election (if even then), I don't think Putin or even Trump expected Trump to win. What Putin wanted was to weaken Hillary, whom he really does despise. If they had really been planning for a Trump victory, I doubt they would have played up the "The election will be totally rigged!" theme so much. That was supposed to undercut Hillary's legitimacy, not Trump's.


"What do Putin and Trump have in common?"


It seems fairly obvious (if not yet proven) that Putin has blackmail material over Trump and maybe over other Republicans as well. "Nothing else explains the ease of our escape." :)

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

nteresting how certain memes can be called into action to change an enemy into a “friend” with a sufficiently monetized propaganda machine.


"We have always been at war with Eastasia. Eurasia has always been our friend."

LarryHart said...

Robert (Pfeiffer) :

I've come around to David's view that impeachment should be postponed. Justice would demand the he be impeached back on January 21, but we have to play it smart.


Justice would demand that the fruits of the poisonous tree would be impeached along with the trunk--that Pence and the entire cabinet and Justice Gorshuch would be impeached along with Trump. Unfortunately, the Constitution has no provision for such, and we're stuck with the Constitution we've got, not the one we wish we had.


Finally, a nice riddle:
Q: What adjective describes something huuuuge and beauuuutiful like the Trump Administration?


Heh. I'm going to try that--mentally substituting "Titanic" for those other superlative adjectives that Trump uses in his pronouncements.

LarryHart said...

Tim Wolter,

First of all, as someone who has never used a secret identity on this site, I can commend your unmasking yourself, while at the same time saying it's hard to stop thinking of you as "Tacitus2". I guess that's why I still think of my wife by her maiden name even after almost 21 years now. :)

Seriously, I used to think that women my mother's age (say) would have had a hard time thinking of their childhood friends by names other than the ones they grew up with together. And yet, that is not the case. The fact that their surnames are different is like the most natural thing in the world to them.

Seems weird to me, though. I knew a guy in college who hated his father and legally changed his surname. I could never get used to it. I felt like I was humoring him using the new name.

Ok, enough of that. What I wanted to comment on was:


My own personal observation. On election day a younger woman brought an older one to the polls. Nice people the both of them. The older woman had been told that she needed ID but had not brought any. She no longer had a driver's license. There was still time for her to go home and get ID but I don't think she did. I don't know if it was an R or a D vote that did not happen there but its likely that most elderly people with memory problems will simply vote as they always have.


"Knowing the rules" is one thing, but what I perceive is that the rules in many states are designed to prevent Democrats from voting, or to make it so difficult that they will give up. In a country which prides itself on being a model democracy, that in itself is an evil which must be opposed. It makes sense to have rules which prevent people from voting multiple times, or to prevent non-citizens from voting. I'm not arguing against that. But it seems to me that the rules are not being designed for that purpose. How does a driver's license with a picture on it prevent voter fraud any more than a signature at the voting booth does? How does a gun permit establish that you are who you claim you are any more than a student id issued by a state institution does? *

In the United States of America, of all places, proper voting by citizens should be facilitated as much as possible. One can argue all one wishes about the merits of each individual restriction, but a pattern of restrictions aimed at keeping legitimate voters from exercising their franchise is un-American.


* I know you've argued that students maybe should vote at home, not where they go to school, but a photo id is not generally used to establish residency, only to establish identity. Presumably, the student would be (or would not be) registered an an appropriate address and allowed to vote from that address based on local and state law. The id just proves that they're who they say they are.

Marino said...

@donzelion:
"Bannon & Co are much closer to Carl Schmitt."

who was a dyed in the wool Nazi worse even than Heidegger... one that should hang at Nurenberg. Really wonderful...

David Brin said...


“what's the big deal if Russia did try to influence the US elections?”

This wasn’t a nudge, but a coup. We have a White House whose every action is bent on serving a hostile foreign power. Weakening the western alliances. Undermining sustainable energy and boosting (Russia’s) oil prices. Devastating American science. Pushing Ankara and the Iranian mullahs into Moscow’s orbit.

As for “commie” the problem with communism was never socialism, per se. It was standard Russian despotism that happened to have a communist face. de Toqueville predicted an America vs Russian confrontation long ago.

Tim, you offer soothing tones and we are not going to accept that final refuge of the ostrich conservative: “All the politicians are the same — just awful, stay calm and we’ll be all right.”

I agree that screaming is counter productive and screaming is not what I am doing. I called for a damping down of impeachment rhetoric and some trust in our skilled professionals to protect us from insane moves by a loony narcissist.

But that calm includes iron-strong determination to win what is a blatant and outright war of treason and insanity against the nation and civilization that we love.

“Acknowlege that the country has changed in ways that none of us saw clearly, although I like to think a few of us had glimpses along the way. Saying that its all a horrid dream or a sinister plot will not improve things.”

With affection — utter bullshit. A majority of Americans rejected the GOP in all but one presidential OR congressional race across the last 22 years. Various kinds of blatant cheating kept the Republican madness in power in Congress almost all that time and in the White House. You would accept cheating as normal. Bull.

The open war against all facts and fact-users is what you always veer your gaze away from. It has worked, keeping the blue majorities smaller than they would have been, though it too is cheating, as is foreign meddling. No sir. You will not soothe us.

"What do Putin and Trump have in common?"

Besides blackmail? How about an agenda to restore feudalism as the mode of rulership across the globe?

occam's comic said...

I think that by this time next year we will have started a new war or be preparing to go to war.

Trump will see that the best option for him personally will be to get the US into another war. This will put the officer corps firmly and the rest of the Military - Industrial - Political complex firmly on his side. The American media and population just loves going to war.

I guess the big mystery now is who will we be going to war with?
Iran - best guess
Syria - maybe but not too likely
Venezuela- dark horse contender
North Korea - stupid choice but can't put it past D Trump

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

Trump will see that the best option for him personally will be to get the US into another war.


That might be the case (from a certain point of view, anyway), but...


This will put the officer corps firmly and the rest of the Military - Industrial - Political complex firmly on his side. The American media and population just loves going to war.


I don't think that is nearly as true as it was before George W Bush. Americans didn't want to go to war in Syria. Americans didn't even care about ISIS until they started being such cartoon super-villains on video that it was impossible to ignore them.

My sense is that Americans are sick of war, especially wars we can't win quickly.

Part of the opposition to candidate Hillary from both right and left was that she was a war hawk.

locumranch said...


I had to laugh at LarryH's 'Eastasia' quip because I had exactly the same thought when I read PaulSB's comment on non-independent western media, yet I remain flummoxed by their apparent inability to recognise that their own preferred non-independent mainstream media outlets engage in equivalent manipulation.

But, then again, scientists look for corroborating evidence before climbing on the popular Belief Wagon, the same corroborating evidence that Larry, who is thoroughly convinced that Trump is EVIL, admits that he has no use for when he says "there'd simply be no logical way to prove that he (is or) isn't".

"Why did Putin want Trump to win?", asks Jumper, yet almost no one but the iconoclast asks why the mainstream media & the bifactional political establishment so desired Trump's complete & utter defeat.

Why does no one also ask why the term 'weaponised narrative' only applies to the (small) right-wing media but never to omnipresent left-wing media dominance? And why would anyone suppose that the corporate shills of the major news networks have a monopoly on social correctness & factual truth?

The real 'coup' of which David speaks wasn't Russian influence in the US election. It wasn't a 'coup' by feudalism that created Brexit & the pending destruction of the EU.

The real coup was the polity's rebellion against a "White House whose every action is bent on serving (any) foreign power". The real coup was the polity's rejection of globalism & the dominant left-wing mainstream media who has told us, over & over, how LUCKY we are to be devalued by outsourcing, unrestricted immigration, deficit spending, corporate oligarchy, political correctness & wage slavery.

Yes, folks. We are just so darned 'lucky' to live in a non-reciprocal society. We are so lucky to send our jobs to the third world. We are so lucky to subsidise all those nations who refuse to support us. We are so lucky that our allies allow us our citizens to die in foreign lands on their behalf. So so lucky are we !!!


Best
_____

Now, now, Occam's Comic, the US Officer's Corp would never act out of self-interest, nor side with the Military-Industry Complex against the hoi polloi, because they are -- as David tells us -- the most highly educated, intelligent & capable US citizens ever produced.

What we need are more 'deep state' military officers! More & more Colonels !! Our Officer Corps will stand on the bridge, like Horatius, Gandalf & various Inspector Generals, and they will shout 'You shall not pass!' when any democratically elected Trump-monster tries to cross.

donzelion said...

Me: "Bannon & Co are much closer to Carl Schmitt."
Marino: "who was a dyed in the wool Nazi worse even than Heidegger... one that should hang at Nurenberg. Really wonderful..."

Indeed. There's a lot more to it than the Fuhrer. The notion one must destroy to build anew is ancient; the nuance of how to actually achieve that was novel, powerful, and ultimately chilling.

Understanding Schmitt's views clarifies the limits of the 'flattery' approach our host endorses, a great deal about the structure of American finance (and real estate, the most obvious expression thereof), and why so many millions of Americans act against their self-interest in embracing a figure (and party) that means them harm, regardless as to how many facts non-members in their group deploy to try to convince them of that fact. Applying psychological terms to group behavior is a category error; there are better explanations that, when grasped, lead toward alternative courses of conduct to challenge power.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Larry, who is thoroughly convinced that Trump is EVIL


A nit to pick on that.

I don't know or care whether Trump personally is evil. It is enough to know that he facilitates such bad outcomes that he might as well be evil for all the practical difference it makes.

My concern is not with the disposition of his soul, but with the fate of our nation and thereby that of humanity.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

yet almost no one but the iconoclast asks why the mainstream media & the bifactional political establishment so desired Trump's complete & utter defeat.


Maybe because the answer was plainly obvious to some of us ahead of the election, and to more of us now that we witness the result.

The ridiculousness that we see daily from out of the White House is only surprising in the sense that no one would have thought "The President of the United States" would ever act in such a manner. That Trump, the individual, would act in such a manner should he ever attain that office was evident for any who had eyes to see, and (to quote a Batman villain) is evident even to the most obtuse by now.


Why does no one also ask why the term 'weaponised narrative' only applies to the (small) right-wing media but never to omnipresent left-wing media dominance? And why would anyone suppose that the corporate shills of the major news networks have a monopoly on social correctness & factual truth?


Have you listened to AM radio at all lately? Right wing talk is ubiquitous. Progressive stations have been converted to Spanish language stations or all-sports so that WCPT in Chicago is practially the only such outlet. Go into any public place where a television is blaring in most states, and it will be on FOX News.

If it were ever the case that a liberal bias was inherent in the media (rather than reality itself having a liberal bias), it hasn't been so for decades.


The real 'coup' of which David speaks wasn't Russian influence in the US election. It wasn't a 'coup' by feudalism that created Brexit & the pending destruction of the EU.


"It can be two things."

Seriously, why do you think Dr Brin is speaking out on Russian influence. It's not because he hates Russia per se. It's about the alignment of that influence with the Holnist agenda.

David Brin said...

"omnipresent left-wing media dominance" only exists as a contrast to your insane Goebbels-level lie machine. Compared to that, maybe the entire journalism profession is "left"... as is every single other knowledge using profession.

But not compared to something called objective reality.

Yours is the cult that calls every single fact-checking service "Partisan" and demolishes every governmental fact checker from OT to OSTP to CBO to the intelligence services and FBI.

The lefty news media doesn't exist. It is an artifact of the fact that your cult is drooling crazy.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Brin: "As for “commie” the problem with communism was never socialism, per se. It was standard Russian despotism that happened to have a communist face. de Toqueville predicted an America vs Russian confrontation long ago."

There was a joke circulating amongst western intelligentsia back in the 50s and 60s (which reportedly infuriated Khrushchev) that went "Communism might have worked if they hadn't tried it in Russia first."

Interested Observer said...

Nathan Holn, may he burn in Hell

Fixed it for you

raito said...

'Weaponized narrative'? Geez, what Newspeak. During the cold war, they called it 'propaganda'. And so it's no wonder that Russia is pretty good at it. It's a lot easier now that the internet allows it without any journalistic gatekeepers.

I don't think the alliance was ever really based on socialism anyway, though that was what the propaganda said.

Partly, we screwed ourselves with respect to propaganda through our own success. The very poor know that anyone bothering to attempt to inform you is in it for himself. The very rich have their own sources of information. It's the ones in the middle, especially the lower middle, who are vulnerable to this sort of thing. One thing a college education is supposed to do for you (hint: college is NOT vocational training) is to allow you to be able to discern wheat from chaff.

I'd be very surprised of the Dominionists were organized.

Tim Wolter,

As for Midwest Lutherans, Missuori Synod is Midwestern, and leagues away from the ELCA, for example. And those aren't the only sects around. Keillor (metaphorically) left Minnesota decades ago.

And that 'closest scrutiny' in Wisconsin is a bit of hogwash. First, it was fought tooth and nail. Then it was defanged. And finally, the recount was essentially done no differently than the initial counts. Audits that are done correctly are not done in the same manner as the Wisconsin recount.

donzelion,

The Sleestak were basketball players. :)

Paul SB,

I ascribe some of that asinine behavior not to being manly but feeling powerless. 'I don't have any power to change my life, but I have to power to inconvenience you' is all too common.

Robert,

Nice advice. And what would you advise to someone in a state where the ID centers are being shut down and put on short hours in order to prevent people from getting IDs? Along with assigning compliance assistance to a state agency that's in the process of being shut down? There's lines you aren't reading between here in WI.

Zepp Jamieson said...

There's a question for a CNN panel: "Is Trump evil by intent, or evil by incompetence?"

"Never attribute to malice things that can be attributed to simple stupidity"

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

There was a joke circulating amongst western intelligentsia back in the 50s and 60s (which reportedly infuriated Khrushchev) that went "Communism might have worked if they hadn't tried it in Russia first."


My high school freshman history teacher made a similar remark, and I don't think he was making a joke.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LarryHart: Point. Some doubtless were serious when they said it. But with the sort-of exception of Cuba, communism has never worked anywhere. It wasn't just Russian culture that destroyed it.

With Cuba, I would posit that it wasn't so much communism worked as American economic imperialism was kept out, which is why Cuba is in much better shape than most of it's Caribbean neighbours.

LarryHart said...

raito:

I ascribe some of that asinine behavior not to being manly but feeling powerless. 'I don't have any power to change my life, but I have to power to inconvenience you' is all too common.


That even makes sense from an evolutionary point of view.

But it makes sense to use the power to inconvenience as a bargaining chip. "Give me something I want or I'll use my power against you." A problem I see is that certain segments of our society simply like inconveniencing others. They're not bargaining with that power, but using it because it's fun. There's nothing anyone can give them which would make them stop inconveniencing in exchange. At that point, they've made themselves enemies in the sense of Heinlein bugs or Sleestak or Holnists (may they rot in Hell).

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

There's a question for a CNN panel: "Is Trump evil by intent, or evil by incompetence?"


"SPIDER-MAN: THREAT OR MENACE?"


"Never attribute to malice things that can be attributed to simple stupidity"


But also never forget that stupidity can do as much damage as malice can.


But with the sort-of exception of Cuba, communism has never worked anywhere. It wasn't just Russian culture that destroyed it.


I think a problem is that communism as described by Marx was not so much a system as a prediction. Communist governments are all about trying to force socio-political reality to match the prediction, when its tendency is to not match it at all.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart: "But also never forget that stupidity can do as much damage as malice can."

Being more common, it does much more.

I daresay Trump will do more harm out of ignorance as out of sheer bloody-mindedness.

I see he doubled down on his attacks on Mayor Khan. The UK is now considering rescinding the State Visit slated for October.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson,

As a fan of the musical "Hamilton", I can't help hearing King George III singing:


When your people say they hate you,
Don't come crawling back to me!

locumranch said...


LOL.

Larry references media reports of Evil Trump as proof of Trump's Evil, cites "The ridiculousness that we see daily from out of the White House" (due to media selection bias) & acts shocked that "The President of the United States would ever act in such a manner" (except for Oval Office oral sex on occasion).

Then, he makes the culturally insensitive complaint that many "Progressive stations have been converted to Spanish language stations" (like Tom Perez's take-over of the DNC) when he should be CELEBRATING the non-English speaking future that he & other progressives support.

Then, David confirms that "omnipresent left-wing media dominance only exists as a contrast to your insane Goebbels-level lie machine" while simultaneously claiming that "The lefty news media doesn't exist". Come again? Left-wing Media exists in quantum flux like Schrödinger's cat? Don't look to closely or it may collapse and create additional media bias !

He also wants to uphold the FBI & other intelligence services as 'fact checkers' even when those services routinely violate their charters for clandestine purposes (1973
Chilean Coup; Iran Contra), much in the same way FBI Director & Senior VP of Lockheed-Martin James Comey cost Hillary Clinton the presidential election with his extrajudicial shenanigans.

We need more men of mixed loyalty like James Comey to stand on the bridge & protect us from the depredations of the Military Industrial Complex ... by granting preferential access to their future & former employers.

For the Greater Good, we need a larger Officer Corps & more Establishment Politicians to protect us from the Corporate Oligarchies that they represent, as the obvious solution to a corrupt government is more corrupt government.


Best
______

Ground control to Mayor Khan.
Take mass casualties and put your Kufi on,
Blame the West for all the violence coming down,
Commencing countdown to another terrorist round,
Check their privilege & may Allah be with you.


Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
We know Mayor Khan is Islam's flunkie.

(Apologies to David Bowie)

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Larry references media reports of Evil Trump as proof of Trump's Evil, cites "The ridiculousness that we see daily from out of the White House"


I didn't reference anything in particular. The specifics can be left as an exercise to the reader, as they are as numerous as they are self-evident.


(due to media selection bias)


Are you freakin' serious? In locum-world where reports are all fair and balanced, what would the media be reporting on instead of the #SoCalledPresident poisoning relationships with allies, supporting of brutal dictators, and harming his own voters?


& acts shocked that "The President of the United States would ever act in such a manner" (except for Oval Office oral sex on occasion).


Not shocked. I specifically said none of this is a surprise except to the donzelions of the world (sorry, dude) who think the best of people and hoped Trump would rise to the office. As to the Clinton comparison, did I really need to specify "conducts the office in such a manner"? Clinton's private affairs mean nothing next to Trump shitting on the institution of the presidency. And BTW, do you really think Trump hasn't had sex in the Oval Office? How could he resist?

Then, he makes the culturally insensitive complaint that many "Progressive stations have been converted to Spanish language stations" (like Tom Perez's take-over of the DNC) when he should be CELEBRATING the non-English speaking future that he & other progressives support.


Yeah, all progressives do (fill in stupid thing), so why isn't this progressive doing (really stupid thing)? Instead of accusing me of failing to do something that you would lambast me for if I were doing it, why not answer some of the legitimate questions I've asked about your own words that don't seem to make any sense. Just today's posts will do.

Berial said...

I've always assumed the Russian interference with out elections was of the propaganda type using information they hacked from various sources like both the RNC and DNC. They used the info that gave the push to the media in the direction they wanted it to go.

APPARENTLY, there WAS some attempt at getting at the voting machines though:

NSA Report Russian Hacking Effort

I've not read the article yet, but I just though it was odd how this came across my Facebook timeline just as this was mentioned here too.

JParker said...

Considering all the trouble with executive appointments. Is it time for the democrats to act like an organized party. By that, I mean should the democrats organize a shadow cabinet and other selected executive appointments (EPA, FEMA, FDA, etc.) . They would each have a small staff and make themselves available for talking head duty and are expected to keep themselves informed. It should be made part of the platform that in the event of electoral victory the presidential candidate will submit the shadow cabinet in total to the Senate. The Senate bandwidth might crash from the confirmation hearings but the people of the United States deserve a few 80 hour weeks from our Senators. The goal being to offer a transparent choice to the electorate and for the incoming administration to be ready to go day 1 not day 250.
Yes it could be a check on executive privilege to select their own cabinet. On the other hand everyone would still serve at the pleasure of the President. The President would just need a reason why the person who had been prepping for three years to be Energy Secretary or head of FEMA was a bad choice for them.

David Brin said...

Okay, now that he isn't even trying to parse actual sentences, I am going on a locum skimming hiatus.

A.F. Rey said...

Some encouraging analysis from FiveThirtyEight: Democrats are overperforming in the special elections since the Presidential election, in both national and local offices, by about 14 points average.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/democrats-are-overperforming-in-special-elections-almost-everywhere/

If this holds on until 2018 (admittedly, a big if), then the House will probably fall to the Democrats. (Which actually would make impeachment by the Republicans a bit harder...)

But even better, governors and state legislations will start to go to the Democrats, too. Trump may have finally broken the Republicans hold on our government. :)

Alfred Differ said...

If the House falls to the Democrats and THEN they impeach Trump, it is a different game. In that case, the people have spoken. Elections have that effect. 8)

donzelion said...

Raito: "I'd be very surprised of the Dominionists were organized."
I'd be surprised if they STAYED organized.

Would not be surprised if someone else organized them. Somebody is advertising on TBN etc. after all...and they're probably among the easiest folks to sell certain financial and other products to...

Dominionists (or Pre-Tribulationists, their older cousins) have been around for 200 years in America - they tend to organize around charismatic celebrities, then splinter into schisms, then coalesce once more. Whereas most historical cyclical claims are nonsense, the emergence of and patterns involving American indigenous religious movements is one of the more consistent cultural gifts we've given the world.

However, at no time in history was it so easy to model and manipulate behaviors of a large group like this, nor were they so incredibly loyal to any single political authority. In the past, they were as likely to have communitarian principles (founding universities that actually taught 'liberal' arts) as reactionary ones.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi JParker
Why isn't it done like that already?
The rest of the world does just that

JParker said...

Duncan, I know the rest of world does it that way(Mostly because their system of government requires an immediate handoff of power), If I had to sum up the reason why in two words it would be "spoils systems". It is still considered to be "honest graft" to reward supporters/donors, sycophants, and sycophantic donors with political office just like in the 19th century. There are limits to the practice for example when Bush 43 twice floated personal attorneys as Supreme Court Justices. That was mainly because the appointment was considered outside of the executive branch and was interfering with judges. The Senate for the most part will allow applicants when their primary qualification is complete and personal loyalty to the president.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

If the House falls to the Democrats and THEN they impeach Trump, it is a different game. In that case, the people have spoken. Elections have that effect. 8)


Besides, there's still no chance the Senate will convict unless something shows up that guarantees that impeachment is a generally-popular position to take--that there won't be partisan blowback for it.

Alfred Differ said...

An election that causes an upheaval in the House would probably be seen as that popular position. They should horse trade for their votes, of course, but that is Senate tradition.

I'm not holding my breath for a House turn-over, but the special election trends DO inspire hope. 8)

Jumper said...

Elections won't suddenly be fair just because voters want the Republicans out.

Treebeard said...

LOL @ Commie. Mostly what I've heard from Putin sounds like common sense nationalism and traditionalism – things that most Western leaders a hundred years ago probably would have found reasonable. I haven't heard much resembling Communism.

Putin reminds me of a Russian Teddy Roosevelt in a lot of ways. I wonder what old Teddy would think of Progressivism today? I'm guessing he'd be inclined to move to Russia and practice judo and hunt with his buddy Vlad and leave the West to the rabid feminists and transsexuals, while counseling Vlad to talk softly but carry a big stick against the Western crusade against toxic masculinity, heterosexuality, secure borders and many other things that have sustained civilization for thousands of years.

It's not that the West (America in particular) is decadent exactly; a better word is *pathological* -- as the skyrocketing statistics for suicide, drug overdoses, depression, obesity, etc., along with the media and cultural circus, political dysfunction, bizarre innovations like men in women's bathrooms, widespread techno-zombieism and douchebaggery, mass shootings, immigrant "refugees" slaughtering people in the streets, etc. all suggest. But of course this argument will go nowhere with someone who is ideologically committed to the idea that America is greater than all previous civilizations *combined*, and considers many of these pathologies forms of "progress".

And that's the tragedy of life (and the fallacy of universal progressivism): two sides of a disagreement can be in the right according to their own histories and narratives, there's no way to reconcile them, so they end up fighting. The problem with escalating narrative weaponization in this case though is that it can end in cities turned to radioactive ruins, and no winner.

Treebeard said...

BTW, this is a timely article by Mark Ames: http://exiledonline.com/russia-blog-7-when-mother-jones-was-investigated-for-spreading-kremlin-disinformation/

Ames is pretty much a leftist, but I cut him slack because he's an old school punk-rocker, not a PC snowflake type, and I used to read his rag (Exiled) in the Starlite Diner in Moscow, where his and War Nerd's writings were some seriously brilliant stuff. This essay is classic Ames – cuts through a lot of bullshit and exposes the corrupt manipulators at the heart of the story. Talk about a weaponized narratives! This dude Glaser (one of the good, tech CEO Hillary-supporting oligarchs) and his paid media sound like real pros at that game. Enjoy.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

It's not that the West (America in particular) is decadent exactly; a better word is *pathological* -- as the skyrocketing statistics for suicide, drug overdoses, depression, obesity, etc


That's different from Russia, how?

Zepp Jamieson said...

Offtopic, but of General Interest: Jovian planet discovered with day time temperature of 7,000 C.
Meet Planet Fresno.
http://tinyurl.com/ydh6hk4z

TCB said...

Today at Big Think: A map of What the World Will Look Like 4°C Warmer.

Now look at this map and pretend you are Vladimir Putin. He seems awfully mellow about global warming, saying that climate change doubters 'may not be so silly' and that “Climate change brings in more favorable conditions and improves the economic potential of this [the Arctic] region,” and when you look at that map up there it's not real fucking hard to see why.

Green, in the 4 degrees C map, is GOOD. Green means reforestation or cities and farms. West Antarctica is green! So are Canada and Russia, almost entirely. Brown is BAD, and orange hardly better. Mexico, Southern India and Pakistan are largely abandoned. Polynesia is sunk, Africa and South America mostly trashed, southern Europe too... and the United States?

Trump Country, Russia's close personal friend, land of the free and home of the brave?

Aside from Alaska, America is TOAST. Vlad the Deceiver is counting on moronic, religious-authoritarian Americans to slowly nuke the United States for him, while his land becomes the breadbasket of the world (and he'll take back Alaska if he can, too, I'd think).

The Trump regime are not playing 3D chess, but the Russians have been for years.

Your move, far-right traitors.

Alfred Differ said...

Teddy Roosevelt might not want to be the guy you should compare him too right now. TR was a dangerous guy in many ways. They can be useful if they are on 'your' side, but they can also screw things up quickly. The problem with the comparison, though, is that if one accepts it, Putin's interests serve Russia and NOT the US and we should expect more trouble... not less.

He's great for Russia... until he extends too far and bankrupts them again. He can keep costs down if the US is divided against itself, so chaos here serves him there.

Laurence said...

Just to nitpick about Bannon-as-Leninist: he's using that term just for shock value for the US public.
He's conflating two issues:

Lenin as revolutionary, who "destroyed" the Russian state only when he believed that there was a ripe alternative evolved from grassroot initiative (the worker's councils sprouting all over Russia. He was sadly wrong, but he wasn't a "let's crash & burn the system for the sake of it" guy. Where are the new institutions bound to supplant the old ones in Bannon's view?)

and Lenin as utopian thinker wishing the withering away of the state (which was more or less a saner form of libertarianism: once everyone has his needs satisfied and is accustomend to have some decent self control, you don't need repression either in order to keep a class/power structure or to prevent individual acts of violence. Think "post scarcity society meets the best angels of our nature" )


A better fit for Bannon would be Sergey Nechaev, his "catchecism of a revolutionist" is an ode to destructive nihilism as an end in itself. I see the same psychology in Mao's Cultural Revolution and ISIS, and to a lesser extent Friedmanite economic "shcok therapy". Read it and mentally replace the word "revolutionary" with Jihadi and see how familiar it sounds: https://www.marxists.org/subject/anarchism/nechayev/catechism.htm

Jumper said...

Lenin had no system to burn.

The article on Mother Jones is good. They put it like this: "with no mind to history and the fact that Russia is a neoliberal dystopia with a flat 13% income tax rate hailed as a “miracle” by the Heritage Foundation."

Marino said...

"A better fit for Bannon would be Sergey Nechaev"

i.e. the real life character for Dostoevskij's Raskolnikov in The Demons. According to other posts Bannon is closer to Carl Schmitt.

How reassuring, that such a guy is advisor to someone with THAT briefcase...

(Unless he's caught murdering an old woman with an axe while whistling the Horst-Wessel-Lied... :-)

Marino said...

Jokes aside,
(I should have ended the last post with "a friendly advice from the other side of the pond: next time vote Cthulhu")

it's me or dr. Brin is warning cautiosly between lines (maybe due to sources he has access) that Trump's next step may be starting or "getting caught" in a war? I wonder how the current mess with Qatar has anything to do... could it be construed as the beginning of a war by proxy against Iran?

TCB said...

Marino said

"Trump's next step may be starting or "getting caught" in a war? I wonder how the current mess with Qatar has anything to do... could it be construed as the beginning of a war by proxy against Iran?"

Yes, when authoritarian governments are teetering due to popular disapproval or bad economy, starting a war is one of the likelier moves they make "to unify the country."

The Argentine junta started the Falklands War under just such conditions, and they lost power soon after their defeat at the hands of the British.

LarryHart said...

TCB:

Now look at this map and pretend you are Vladimir Putin. He seems awfully mellow about global warming, saying that climate change doubters 'may not be so silly' and that “Climate change brings in more favorable conditions and improves the economic potential of this [the Arctic] region,” and when you look at that map up there it's not real fucking hard to see why.


Hmmm, Canada, Siberia, and Patagonia?

What book does that remind me of?

Marino said...

Pity that the Swiss Navy is selling off some of its boats... :-)

LarryHart said...

Someone on today's www.electoral-vote.com has been reading this blog :)


Cyber security experts have been screaming from the rooftops for years that electronic voting systems are vulnerable to manipulation, but their defenders have pooh-poohed the idea. Now there is a report that the Russian hackers did a lot more to influence the 2016 election than release some e-mails that got supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in a dither. The report says the hack was done by Russian Intelligence Agency GRU and the manufacturer might have been VR systems. The company's voting products are used in Florida, North Carolina, and Virginia, among other states. The report, produced by the NSA, was leaked anonymously to The Intercept, and does not claim that the Russians actually managed to change the code in the voting machines to sway the count.

It does allege that they tried, though. What they did do was send fake emails to election officials in the hopes of getting them to turn over the voting machines' passwords. If the GRU managed to get some, they could potentially log into the machines and try to change the software. The attack was quite sophisticated; it was not the work of a couple of 12-year-old boys in the Philippines who did it as a joke. So far it remains unsubstantiated, but it shouldn't be surprising that the GRU tried to hack the voting machines, so it seems entirely plausible.

If the Russians' real goal was not so much to elect Donald Trump but to destabilize America's democracy, this is clearly the way to go. Imagine what could happen if it comes out that Trump/Pence won due to Russian hacking of voting machines. Then Pence is as tainted as Trump even if he is personally squeaky clean. Impeaching and convicting Trump doesn't solve the problem. Democrats will call for a new election, but the Constitution does not provide for new elections under any circumstances. It could get—what's the technical term for this?—messy.

LarryHart said...

This, not illicit sex in the Oval Office, was what I meant by conducting the office of the presidency in a ridiculous manner.

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


In short, it looks like Donald Trump's legislative agenda is dead in the water. A former official in George W. Bush's administration, Andy Karsner, described the Trump administration and the congressional leadership by saying they "have no skill set, they have no craftsmanship. They have no connection to the time when people passed legislation."

raito said...

LarryHart,

I disagree. At the lower economic levels, they aren't using the power to inconcenience because they like it per se. They're using it because they believe it's the ONLY power they have. To them, it's not conceivable that it can be used in a bargain, because The Man doesn't bargain. He doesn't have to.

I suspect you may be thinking of a different segment of society, though.

donzelion,

You have a fair point. Fanatics tend to be easily led.

LarryHart said...

raito:

I disagree. At the lower economic levels, they aren't using the power to inconcenience because they like it per se. They're using it because they believe it's the ONLY power they have. To them, it's not conceivable that it can be used in a bargain, because The Man doesn't bargain. He doesn't have to.


I'm seeing that as a distinction without a difference. The point is that they use their power to disrupt because they feel like it, not because there's any way to bargain with them to make them stop doing that. Or if there's more than one faction who will each disrupt unless they get everything they want, and the things they want are incompatible with each other (say, Bernie Bros and White Supremacists).

If large enough segments of society are that dissatisfied--that they feel abandoned by the system and care nothing except for an ability to frustrate others--then I'm not sure what can be done about the situation. It seems like a sign that democracy has already failed.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I was on 538 today, reading articles about the disintegration of the Trump administration and efforts to politically normalize same, and came across this little gem: "Math Has No God Particle". https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/math-has-no-god-particle/

Does God Lie?

David Brin said...

Loony: “Mostly what I've heard from Putin sounds like common sense nationalism and traditionalism – things that most Western leaders a hundred years ago probably would have found reasonable. I haven't heard much resembling Communism.”

No, just gathering all national industry into monolithic, non-competing entities that are exactly like the old, Soviet state companies with just one difference, that the controlling lords at the top no longer try to hide their siphoning off of assets and profits to Switzerland and London. Except for that, the pattern is identical, including murdering anyone who might either compete or criticize.

All figleaf relationships to competitive markets, enterprise, or capitalism are all gone. And I will give Treebeard this. He is among those honest enough to admit his version of “right wing” has nothing to do with any of those things, or Adam Smith. In America, entrepreneurials, especially in tech, are all democrats (a few libertarians). And capitalism is dead in Russia.

No, he sees ruthless mafia-oligarchy that uses Soviet management and organizational structures as a GOOOOOD thing.

His list of awfulnesses in the US would be a terrible indictment… if they weren’t spectacularly less than an other civilization… except socialist northern Europe and Japan. Those are the only places where it’s even better.

Robert said...

@Larry Hart and @Zepp Jamieson

You can add Karl Marx to the people who thought that trying Communism in Russia first is totally absurd - or (pardon the macabre pun) "bloody absurd".

Bob Pfeiffer.

Alfred Differ said...

Lenin DID have a system to burn. It was the Romanov's system. He did quite a number on it, even though it survived under different leadership.

This shouldn't surprise anyone who thinks about how such systems come to be. They are survivors of a multi-generational evolutionary process. They are fit by definition. They have guys like Treebeard defending them. 8)

Zepp Jamieson said...

The Tsar died six years before Lenin took power. There was six years of civil war and by the time that was finished and Lenin assume power, the vestiges of the old Tsarist system were long gone. Lenin moved into a vacuum.

David Brin said...

Zepp your version of events is hilarious! Who was in the Kremlin for all of those 6 years, hmm?

The czarist system was resumed by habit under a different surface religion and different surface rationalizations. As happened When Putin established a third "traditionalist" approach. It's all the same thing. The Russians had one chance to escape. And that monster George HW Bush and his cronies deliberately pissed it way.

Paul SB said...

TCB,

One problem with the green areas on the map you referenced is that while most of these areas will be warmer, much of them have no soils, only rocks and regolith. But maybe Vlad the ImPutin could turn Russia into the breadbasket of the world if he mobilizes massive numbers of trucks to move soils from further south. That would be a pretty big project, even if it crept northward slowly following the slow shifting of the climate.

Larry,

I doubt locum meant the same thing by the Eastasia line than you meant.

Raito,

"I ascribe some of that asinine behavior not to being manly but feeling powerless. 'I don't have any power to change my life, but I have to power to inconvenience you' is all too common."

I get you, but don't you think that dick-like behavior is driven by testosterone? Most people have no power, but when your hormones tell you that you should, and your culture reinforces that feeling with unnatural overemphasis on competitiveness and aggression, it's the ones with the high t-levels who become the bullies, get into bar fights, beat their wives, molest their kids, vandalize property, cut you off in traffic, and endlessly on.

On the other hand, type e people can get conniving when they don't get what they want, and type s people will conform to whatever they think is the norm for whatever group they are in. If the type t people are more visible, the type s people will assume they are the norm and emulate them, while powerless type e people will stab as many people in the metaphorical back as they can. Strange that I can't see a consistent reaction for type d people except to avoid the whole mess and look for ways to have fun in life on a budget.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doesn't matter who was in the Kremlin, Doctor Brin. Who held what cities and extents of infrastructure? There was a civil war on. And the Whites, who were in the Kremlin, didn't like the old Tsarist system any more than the Bolsheviks did.

I do agree with your analysis about Putin, Bush, and the reawakening of the fascist economic model (aka the kleptocracy) in Russia.

A.F. Rey said...

Another problem with the green areas on the climate-change map is that increased rainfall normally doesn't come as a drizzle, but as hard rain. So without adequate soil to absorb the increased rain (and oftentimes even with), most of the rain runs off and causes flooding.

So no one should count on new areas becoming fertile due to climate change. We may end up with thin-soiled areas which get their soil swept away from flooding. :(

Zepp Jamieson said...

AE Ray wrote: "So no one should count on new areas becoming fertile due to climate change. We may end up with thin-soiled areas which get their soil swept away from flooding. :( "

I had to sit down and figure out what a warmer Arctic might be like as part of a personal project. Guessing specific weather patterns was impossible, let along modelling them. But the land is varied, and may react in different ways. The Boreal is presently under siege from continued drought and insect infestation, and stressed trees are dying by the billions. Unfortunately, there's nothing to suggest a reversal of that trend. When the forest goes, erosion will be a big problem, but much of the Boreal is on reasonable flat land, so a new stable supply of arable land may appear there in due course.
The muskeg, by far the largest part of the Arctic in our hemisphere, has a lot of peat. And a vast number of lakes. Much of it may end up bare rock, but it will eventually have arable regions. Eventually. The areas covered by glaciers and ice sheets are more problematic. I postulated that the Greenland ice sheet is over varied terrain, including, possibly, a watershed the size of the Amazon. The ice has a lot of dust in it, and if the top, dustiest layers melt in place, over closed valleys and the like, the sediment might serve as a thin topsoil. But most of the Island would probably resemble Nunavut as it appears now.

LarryHart said...

A. F. Rey:

So no one should count on new areas becoming fertile due to climate change. We may end up with thin-soiled areas which get their soil swept away from flooding.


Maybe someone should tell Putin before he destroys the earth for no good reason. :(

Then again, he probably already knows this, but maybe he's planning to sell all that "great" new land to someone who doesn't know that--someone in a position of power?

David Brin said...

Zepp what planet are you from? The whites never came anywhere near the Kremlin. Lenin’’s Reds owned most of the territory, most cities and most industry across the entire span of the Civil Way. The whites’ main victories were in Poland, Finland and when the US and Britain invaded. And those were transitory.


No matter how warm the Arctic regions get in summer, they’ll still have just one, brief growing season.

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onward

onward