Saturday, July 01, 2017

Hypocrisies from the past and future

Oh the two-faced silliness.  The new "election fraud commission" has demanded information - including social security numbers - of every voter in America, without even setting up a secure and vetted site and infrastructure to receive and secure the information. And that sets aside the Orwellian aspects of the plan.

To be clear, my resistance is not purist or reflexive. I would happily support a major beefing up in voter ID if it were part of a negotiated deal that included:

(1) massive compliance assistance to help poor people, divorced women, the elderly etc to actually get proper ID. (Without this, every single person shouting about Voter ID is a pure hypocrite.)

(2) a national agency to vet and inspect every voting machine and ensure that it is both secure and paper-trail hand-auditable

(3) weekend voting, and finally

(4) an end to gerrymandering.

Dems should say: “Fine. You give in on those four honorable and reasonable things and we’ll consent to a massive, five year program to ensure all votes and voters have proper ID.  

Refuse those reasonable things and all you prove yourselves to be is hypocrites.  Well... that and outright cheaters.

== Repeal, Don't Replace? ==

Don't think that "Repeal, don't Replace" is a bug -- it is a feature.  To be clear, even the draconian-stupid-cruel House and Senate bills on the table do not actually rescind Obamacare rules. They merely tweak factors and conditions and amounts and thresholds within Obamacare! Which would be fine, but for the outcomes, which are universally bad for everyone. Oh, and the hypocrisy of raging against a program that had been the GOP's original plan, all along! Including the Individual Mandate... all part of the Republican Platforms - and RomneyCare - for a decade. That is, till Obama touched it and gave it cooties.

Oh, but now Trump is saying: "Just repeal! We'll replace it later!"

The principal effect that folks and press foresee will be tossing 24 million off health insurance and sending us back to double digit health cost increases.  

But that masks the main GOP priority, and top effect, which will be to give the top 0.1% a huge tax cut. They know that supply side voodoo cuts for the aristocracy have never delivered predicted benefits. Not once. Ever in any place, at any time, in any context. But they figure they can eke through one more in this way.

== The opposite to philanthropy... ... or sanity... or Jesus ==

See a superficial but informative - if a bit biased - overview of the darker side of transhumanism: "The Techno-Libertarians Praying for Dystopia." Every paragraph of this essay contains insights and truths, especially about the clade of unsavory ingrates who were given everything they have by enlightenment civilization, and who respond by gleefully pissing in its patient and ever-generous face.

Beyond failing to note this ungrateful hypocrisy, the writer - Mark O'Connell - alas falls short in dozens of other ways. For example, he fails to note that human improvability or augmentation or even transcendence do not have to lead straight back to feudal-style hierarchies - though, yes, that is the aim of raving neo-feudalist Holnist wannabes -- dreamy putzes who hilariously assume they'd land on top, in a dog-eat-dog world; when they would be bitches or kibble. 

In fact, going back to Wells and Asimov and Heinlein, there have been thinkers who pondered how equality of opportunity -- at least in generous spirit -- could continue in a future that offers countless options to all. The very same enlightened attitude that brought us here, out of feudalism's festering 6000 years of delusional stupidity.

O'Connell quotes libertarian maven Peter Thiel: "I no longer believe that freedom and democracy are compatible.” And I throw up my hands over the insipidity of alpha-minuses who cling desperately to the delusion that they are alpha-plusses.

Really? Dig this, neither freedom nor democracy are the deep fundamentals at issue here!  

We treat them as sacred things, because only by sacralizing them can we give them the devoted protection that they need, in the face of other, older and nastier axioms. But in fact, Democracy and Freedom are fundamentally justified by their undeniably spectacular effects.

They are both pragmatic tools that empowered the Enlightenment to achieve the one, central invention that created our renaissance of science, productivity and low error rates.  The one thing that enabled us to create positive sum arenas which ended vast wastage of human talent (typical in other societies) and whose outputs have been staggeringly and exponentially greater than all other human cultures. All others, combined.

== Let me explain, one more time ==

It should please my libertarian friends - those not steeped in randian masturbatory fantasies - that I deem the core desideratum to be competition. Or more exactly: reciprocal accountability, the essence I described in The Transparent Society. Adam Smith, the American founders and the great transformative scientists all know that human beings are delusional... indeed, so will be AI!  

The paramount fact about Homo sapiens is that we cannot pierce our own delusions. But others, outside our own echoing skulls can point them out for us, a service provided by our competitive arenas: markets, democracy, science, courts and sports. (But not yet provided by the Internet!)

Freedom and democracy are good things. But their primary justification and utility arise when they serve as ways to open up reciprocal accountability, criticism and error-correcting competition. To be clear, you cannot get actual, flat-open-fair and transparent competitive arenas without freedom or without democracy.  

Without the miracle invention of reciprocal accountability, we would soon be locked back into some feudal or quasi-feudal hierarchy, drenched in delusion and error and voluptuous incantations that self-serve a circle-jerking elite... 

...exactly the format that crushed the hopes of 99% of our ancestors, leaving us mired for 60 unnecessary centuries in crushing filth and ignorance. And that is exactly what these deeply deficient mental onanists yearn for.

== Darkness from the past ==


Late last year, next to the ruins of ancient Niniveh, the Tomb of Jonah was liberated from ISIS. 


I deem Jonah to be among the most important books in the Bible and one that you (yes, you) should read carefully. It is important for the book's lesson that fate is not 'written" or locked-in. No doom is sealed in advance! God can change his mind. 


And the implication is both philosophically consistent with all we know about the objective universe, from quantum mechanics to complexity and the Butterfly Effect, and it offers a clear-eyed refutation to some of the worst fanaticisms spewed by some of our neighbors.

Even if you believe the noxiously sadistic Book of Revelation (whose character is the opposite of Jesus, in every conceivable way) to have been a sincere prophecy, at the time that John of Patmos dreamed it -- all that means is that... God... changed...His ... mind. 


Think about it. Jonah makes clear that He can and does change his mind. And hence, we have a perfect answer to those Revelation-zealots who rub their hands in gleeful anticipation of nearly all their neighbors - fellow citizens - suffering the fates meted in that loathsome book. Sadistically eager for us to suffer eternal damnation, they relish a looming end to all the things that make us human -- ambition, uncertainty, courage, striving, improvement, art, argument, endeavor... yes, and democracy. And oh, yes. They pray for an imminent end to the United States of America. 


Now think about it. The Biblical God made threats and then relented, lots of times. And yes, he carried through on some threats! Only dig this: it never took Him more than a year or so, to decide. Not once, not ever, did it take 2000 years.


Hence, even if the wrathful ravings of Patmos really were God's intention, around 70 CE, we can pretty much assume - with confidence - that a loving God not only changed His mind about the awful BoR (even assuming He/She/ ever even made that awful threat). 

Moreover, given the spectacular successes of science and our recent enlightenment civilization - outperforming all predecessors, combined, by orders of magnitude, in every human desideratum, from freedom and knowledge to fun - we can hope this means that He will safeguard us from such people getting their ignoramus hands on the tools that science gave us. (Just look at the fantastic images that our loyal space probes are returning to Earth, and tell me what's magnificently sacred action.)

This is more than enough reason not to race to impeach Donald Trump!  His leaky, ill-disciplined and silly administration would be replaced by Mike Pence and a sweeping takeover by utterly disciplined Dominionists, bent on one thing -- apocalypse. A Pence White House would not leak. It would be hell-bent, literally, on ending the world.


To sample the BoR and up your education about what those people actually believe and want, see Patrick Farley's fantastic depiction, as a Pokemon Manga

== Oddities ==

Ever think the English language is strange? This article shows you some aspects you never knew, that are fascinating ...  indeed!  Take this example: 

“Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac.”  


I agree though there is a way-out, by using a hyphen to turn any pair of adjectives compound. ‘French-green’ or ‘old-French’ or ‘green-lovely’ can sound a bit odd, but suggesting you know something the reader doesn’t know, and inviting them to suspend the rules. We do it all the time in ferric-ironic interstellar-cubical California-new science fiction.

Gmail lets you store “canned responses” so you don’t have to retype the same stuff dozens of times.  You can then fill in whatever is unique, each occasion. Though… I’ve done this using Quickeys for 25 years.

davidbrin.blogspot.ca – the Canadian repeater for this site - has been tagged with a "sites whose addresses have been found in spam messages" rating and as a result is being blocked by some content management software, e.g. Trend Micro and Bluecoat . There are no issues with the site. (Thanks Glen Mackey.)

For your health... pay attention to what you eat: Foods to decrease your chance of heart disease.


Outlive the fools,

57 comments:

Greg Hullender said...

The sequence of adjectives example you give misses an important distinction: a list of adjectives without hyphens are all modifying the noun. So a "deep blue dish" is a deep dish that happens to be blue, but we don't know what shade of blue. But a list of adjectives connected by hyphens constitute an adjective phrase which collectively modifies the noun. So a "deep-blue dish" is a particular shade of blue, but we have no idea how deep the dish is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I fully understand your arguments against impeaching Trump--Pence and the Dominionists are a horrible and terrifying alternative.
But there's a 32-second video at this link: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/watch-buzz-aldrin-floored-as-trump-humiliates-himself-attempting-to-talk-about-science-and-space/

...in which Trump attempts to discuss science and space exploration. The results would be pretty much what you expect. Buzz Aldrin is standing next to him, and is making no effort at all to hide his reactions. However, if you watch the others in the room, you'll quickly note that except for Pence and one Trumpkin behind Aldrin, the rest are similarly appalled.
And he's back to ginning up a military confrontation with North Korea, exacerbating tensions with China, threatening to spark a trade war with most of the rest of the world, pushing a horrid tax cut/eliminate health care bill and it's not clear that he understands the bill at all.
Yeah, Pence and the Dominionists may be about as bad, but religious ideologues can be made to bend to public will and reality. I'm not sure that's true of Trump.

Tim H. said...

The idea of gathering enough voter information to apply for credit on everyone into an insecure database is alarming, whose hands would the data be in? On the brighter side, Trump might do serious damage to the meme that Republicans are best for business.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Tim H

The problem is NOT the data

The problem is that the financial companies use this incredibly insecure data for identity verification

If everybody's Name, Address, Social Security Number, and Date of Birth
was available on an open database then the financial companies and anybody else who needed to verify identity would be unable to use this - and if they did would be laughed out of court -

This would enable the USA to have a very simple and effective database of voters

LarryHart said...

Greg Hullender:

The sequence of adjectives example you give misses an important distinction: a list of adjectives without hyphens are all modifying the noun. So a "deep blue dish" is a deep dish that happens to be blue, but we don't know what shade of blue. But a list of adjectives connected by hyphens constitute an adjective phrase which collectively modifies the noun. So a "deep-blue dish" is a particular shade of blue, but we have no idea how deep the dish is.


It's been almost 40 years since high school, but I doubt the Evanston Township HS "Manual of Form and Style" agrees with that. I think that "deep blue dish" would be ambiguous as to whether deep was an adverb describing blue or an adjective describing dish. Whereas "deep, blue dish" would signify that deep and blue are independent adjectives describing the noun.

Of course, how do you ever fully diagram a language which allows the same apparent structure to produce sentences like "Time flies like an arrow," and "Fruit flies like a banana"?

LarryHart said...

With apologies to Alfred Differ for the "Dune" reference, I think I now understand the Republicans' evil plan. As the US is increasingly crushed beneath the heel of Republican government, with Donald Trump and the US Supreme Court playing the role of Beast Rabban, the populace will cry out for a savior. Thus we will cheer and welcome whichever Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen comes along to free us from the old order by way of the new Republican Constitutional Convention, establishing the White Christianist homeland in which taxation and regulation of the powerful are forbidden and slavery is re-instituted.

Paul SB said...

You think they'll get a stuck up pop singer to play Feyd?

LarryHart said...

@Paul SB,

Ted Nugent?

LarryHart said...

raito (late in the previous post) :

To be succesful, any voter id cannot be the current SSN. And it seems likely that the voter id must be explicitly barred by law from being used for nearly any other purpose, unless a bunch of other laws get repealed.


Social Security number is barred by law from being used for other purposes, and yet here we are. Doubtless, the same would soon happen with a unique voter id, regardless of what the law says.

A voter id number would degrade just as SSN does, though, because eligibility to vote is not a constant. If someone is convicted of a felony, they lose their right to vote. In some states, they get it back again over time. The system would have to handle such time-variant characteristics.

Like Dr Brin, I am not philosophically opposed to verification of a voter's legitimacy. I am opposed to using such laws as a pretense for throwing obstacles in the way of voters who won't vote the way you want them to. As someone on this site pointed out, the object should be that every legitimate voter is able to vote and that no illegitimate ones are. As things stand now, the singular goal of voter id laws is to make voting harder and more expensive so that poor people and those without free time or easy transportation will find the process too much to bother with and self-segregate. As an American, I have no respect for those who pass and support such obviously un-American laws.

TCB said...

Re: adjective order. I saw a package addressed to one "Uncle Little Johnny" which interested me as it was an (apparent) violation of the order rule, but which actually obeys it. If we call him "Little Uncle Johnny" it tells us that Uncle Johnny is not a large man. But the nickname is "Little Johnny", obviously, and so these elements of his nickname are not to be separated. He presumably is Little Johnny even to people who are not nieces and nephews. The rule is conserved but has exceptions for subsections that can't be separated.

So let's say there are several bridges, some tall, some low, toll and free, red and blue, over the Lazy Green River. So one might be the Tall Red Lazy Green River Toll Bridge, while another is the Low Blue Toll-Free Lazy Green River Bridge, and so on.

It's funny how we don't need lessons for this! Also, I am glad I don't commute in that city...

locumranch said...


Hypocrisy of Hypocrisies: To talk about Reciprocal Accountability & Divine Forgiveness as if they were interchangeable synonyms.

I just had this very same conversation with my local Democratic Party chairperson, an idealistic but self-contradictory woman, who positioned her political organisation as the maternally sane & nurturing party capable of forgiving any trespass performed by children, women, minorities & any subgroup of assumed hypoagency, the irony being that her forgiving nuture did not apply to those of 'Majority' that she deemed either mature or 'responsible'.

Quite inadvertently, however, she did define 'heartless' US Republicans as the 'stern father' Nature Party wherein tit-for-tat consequence is applicable to ALL without preference, partiality, mitigating factor & modification, insomuch as (1) Natural Law & God's Law are both simultaneously ruthless & interchangeable from the scientific perspective and (2) the 'Tyranny of Hypoagency' has become increasingly intolerable to those who still possess agency.

Reciprocity does NOT mean what you think it means & you are in for a rude awakening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Uu8QacmtzA


Best

Jumper said...

LarryHart, we'll agree tossing 30,000 legitimate voters off the rolls just to stop the last few cheats is not as far as we want to take it.

Re. a states' citizens ID card we already have thumbprints. The objections are what prevents this; the loss of privacy is the same. Am I willing to give a thumbprint? Only under duress; I'm already registered, I know I'm legit, and no one ever told me someone has voted in my name already.

LarryHart said...

Jumper,

That's exactly the thing. Registration is the point at which it is established that Voter X is eligible to vote in a particular locale. At election time, it is only incumbent upon you to prove that you are indeed Voter X, and perhaps that you still live there. It should not be a requirement that you establish over and over again that you were eligible to vote in the first place.

raito said...

Jumper,

It has nothing to do with cheating, at least of the voters. Look at WI. Do you seriosly think it's coincidence that a Vort ID law passed at the same time DMV offices were being shut down, early voting curtailed, and polls not allowed to remain open even if there were people to man them?

Too many coincidences for me.

Jumper said...

What possibly could suggest I don't believe this is all a cruel setup by Republicans to cheat? Nothing I've ever written should suggest anything different.

Alfred Differ said...

My list of demands for supporting a voter ID is a little different.

1) Compliance assistance need not be massive, but it must be reasonable. It should be clear that the voter ID is really a citizen ID and it will be allowed as an identifier for financial purposes. Taxes, liens, loans, bank accounts, and what not may all use the identifier. In this, it is necessary that everyone participate in order to have free, flat, fair access to modern service markets. Voting is just one of those markets types. I do NOT think it need remain fixed, though. I suggest it be a digital certificate that can be revoked.

2) A national STANDARDS agency able to certify processes, but not the machines and people who do the certifying of voting machines, vote tallies, and all that. Actual certifiers would have to remain at the State level absent a Constitutional Amendment I would likely oppose unless it was really, really good. What the standards agency COULD do, though, is investigate and assert whether they believe a live system or process passes their standards.

3) Digital voting must be allowed using a two-factor authentication methods that signs a ballot that can be preserved by both the voting officials of a State and the Voter. Exactly how this is done should be covered by 2), but it would obviously have to hash the ballot, and then encrypt and sign the hash. The in-the-clear ballot would not have PII attached, but when combined with the encrypted, signed hash, it would be just enough to answer later questions about voter fraud to the correct authorities. (Don’t trust them? That’s why we vote for them too.)


I want an end to gerrymandering too, but I’m not going to tie the demand to Voter ID’s. Both are important and I don’t want opponents of one to be drawn into opposition to the other.

CP said...

I agree with Zepp regarding impeachment. Pence would be another George W. Bush. Trump is likely to be an American Berlusconi, at best: an American Hitler, at worst. It's true that Trump could provoke a larger backlash against the Republicans and, perhaps, be more constrained by his own incompetence/personality. But, is that worth the risk of catastrophic collateral damage? So, if I could magically replace Trump with Pence I'd take the deal.

Of course, the question is probably mute since the chances of successful impeachment and removal range from slim to none. It takes a majority of the house and a 2/3 majority of the senate to make it happen. And, Trump will simply threaten to instruct "his people" to primary any republican who votes against him. Also, it might not be wise, politically, to push for early impeachment since it could well backfire...

By the way, one way to illustrate the comparison is to generate weighted "credibility indexes" using Politifact's data. On their scale assign 3 points for "true," 2 points for "mostly true," 1 point for "half true," 1 point for "mostly false," 2 points for "false" and 3 points for "pants on fire." Then, treat is as a percentage: sum the first three and divide by the total. Politifact doesn't distinguish between the various categories of counter-factual and doesn't rate matters of opinion or statements that can't be checked empirically. So, they're largely non-ideological.

The results can probably best be thought of as reflecting the relative congruence between the candidate's statements and the "empirical consensus" rather than anything more concrete. And, it takes a sample of a couple dozen ratings to yield a stable number...

Just for fun, here're the indexes for the candidates in the last election cycle that met the rating # requirement (or were marginal). Plus, Obama, Biden and Bill Clinton for reference:

# = 24+ ratings, (#) = 12-23 ratings

Tim Kaine: 84
Hillary Clinton: 78
Martin O'Malley: (78)
Barack Obama: 78
Bill Clinton: 78
Bernie Sanders: 78
Jeb Bush: 76
Gary Johnson: (74)
John Kasich: 73
Lindsey Graham: (70)
Joe Biden: 68
Rand Paul: 68
Chris Christie: 65
Marco Rubio: 62
Lincoln Chafee: (61)
Scott Walker: 56
Mike Pence: 54
Rick Perry: 54
Mike Huckabee: 53
Carly Fiorina: (48)
Rick Santorum: 42
Ted Cruz: 37
Donald Trump: 29
Ben Carson: 14

Pence, at 54, clusters with other established Dominionist politicians. Trump, at 29 arguably has "other issues"... And, yes, the cluster at 78 fell out in that order before rounding. :-)

CP

Jumper said...

So, must this damned voter ID also have the correct address on it?

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Jumper
As you are voting from an area - then yes I believe that it does need the address

locumranch said...



Just as David tries to silence the voices of both the Dominionist & the Climate Change Denier, the Voter ID controversy is just a sham, designed to give voice to those who would support your agenda & silence those who do not, whatsoever your agenda may be, as the US Democratic Party machine remains infamous for enabling the dead, destitute & mentally incompetent to vote come election day & the US Republican Party tends to purchase the additional votes it requires:

And those who husbanded the Golden grain,
And those who flung it to the winds like Rain,
Alike to no such aureate Earth are turn'd
As, buried once, Men want dug up again.


Best
___
@DuncanC: Any ADDRESS requirement for a Voter ID discriminates against the HOMELESS, you BIGOT, and you should be ashamed & silenced for suggesting such a restrictive residency requirement. What's next? Would you institute a language, literacy or educational requirement, too? Or, proof of Citizenship? RACIST!!!!!!!

LarryHart said...

Amazing how every phrase or clause in a sentence can be a lie.

But then again, we should be used to that sort of thing by now. Look who is running the government.

LarryHart said...

Jim Wright has been on a roll lately. Today (ok, yesterday), he gets into the voter suppression commission, or whatever it's really called. An excerpt does't do the column justice.

http://www.stonekettle.com/


...
You say, hey, c’mon, Jim. It’s not like that. And what’s wrong with making sure, damned sure, extra sure, that the foundation of our Republic is intact? What’s wrong with making sure that only Americans, those legally enfranchised, are the ones voting? What’s wrong with ensuring the integrity of our elections?

What’s wrong with ensuring the integrity of our elections?

Nothing.

If you could trust them to do it.

But you can’t.

If that’s what these people were actually up to.

But it’s not.
...

Anonymous said...

Alfred Differ Your first point would fail for two reasons. 1) Half the population would be screaming 666!, mark of the beast! 2) The other half would be screaming states rights, and global government conspiracy! Well wait, now that I think about it, those are the same half.

Zepp Jamieson said...

One thing I would add the the recommendations above for voter ID is that it be provided at no cost to the citizenry. The states are required to provide it at no cost upon request (it violates the poll tax amendment) but some have been less than forecoming about the fact that it's free upon request. It should be at no cost, period, and ID requirements for such a card should be uniform. In some states, a college ID card isn't considered valid ID, but an NRA membership card is.

Zepp Jamieson said...

locumranch wrote: " Any ADDRESS requirement for a Voter ID discriminates against the HOMELESS"

There are between 500,000 and three million American adults who are homeless. Why should that invalidate their right to vote?

A voter ID card in effect is a citizen ID card: something righties in America used to fight against tooth and nail. Thought it was creeping communism or something.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Microsoft's second stab at an online AI presence crashed and burned, apparently for the same reason the first one did: It became a bigot because the input fed to it was bigoted. Asked a question about healthcare, it replied, “The far majority practice it peacefully but the quran is very violent,” which would have been ill-considered even if the topic was Islam or terrorism.
The first attempt turned into a Holocaust denier, which leaves me wondering about the people who are programming these things.

Tony Fisk said...

I haven't been following Microsoft's AI debacle closely. I suspect they're letting it into the wild without enough training. As Zepp infers, good parenting is a must.

Adopt-a-bot!

Alfred Differ said...

@anonymous | I've never claimed half the population is smart. Not even 90%. 8)

Seriously, though, it would take a monumental sales pitch to get this through a design process. Fortunately there is a easier way. Patience. Evolution will provide IF my ideas are fit and there is a way to make money at it. It's the slow approach.

Jumper said...

Years ago here I promised, for the sake of communications clarity, to label any Socratic questions as such before I ask them. I am sorry to say I have occasionally omitted such labeling!
I did this because rapid switching between statements of fact, and then the asking of rhetorical questions to which I already have answered at least partially in my own mind, might confused the reader.
Perhaps rhetorical questions are always a bad idea, and the Socratic method needs to be labeled every time without exception.

"So, must this damned voter ID also have the correct address on it?" was rhetorical. It makes it a little harder on students, people evicted recently, gentrified, public domained, widowed recently, staying with friends for a few weeks, people whose house burned down to the ground last week, homeless, etc. Anyone in transition loses without re-registering.

Alfred Differ said...

We need something simple like scare quotes for rhetorical questions. 8)

donzelion said...

CP: "Trump is likely to be an American Berlusconi, at best: an American Hitler, at worst."

Grimly, I must concur. Sadly, I find this unlikely -

"It's true that Trump could provoke a larger backlash against the Republicans"

-because there's no way to hold 'Republicans' accountable, when the voting majorities are so gullible that Christian conservatives can be told anything at all, believe it, and vote accordingly.

"if I could magically replace Trump with Pence I'd take the deal."
I don't see the difference, really. Trump and Pence are figureheads. The machinery behind them is chillingly effective at winning elections in rural America, and controlling any leader - Rep or Dem.

Sadly, the only folks offering a counter to it want nothing at all except donations. I'm getting 5-10 'asks' per day, and not one of them is interested in anything else.

donzelion said...

Zepp Jamieson: "A voter ID card in effect is a citizen ID card: something righties in America used to fight against tooth and nail. Thought it was creeping communism or something."

As of 2005, gag rules applied that banned any federal money from being spent even discussing the issue. The complaints raised a typical crazy talk (creeping communism, the work of the antichrist), but in rural America (and to a lesser extent, urban America), it's all about job security for well-connected insiders.

David Brin said...

As usual, locum is unable to posit even the remote possibility that he might be the one who is mistaken.
And that is the character trait that guarantees he’ll almost always be.

As for his second screed, not a single thing he asserted is even remotely true. They are utter falsehoods that work as warped-soul incantations.

“Pence would be another George W. Bush.” This is stunning naivete. Pence is a Book of Revelation fanatic. He prays actively for the end of the world. His network prays actively for the end of the world. That’s not a Bush. And politifact doesn’t ask about stuff like that.

Bob Neinast said...

Yes, this is from Alternet, but you aren't the only one concerned about unauditable voting machines.

Many Troubling, Unanswered Questions about Voting Machinery in Georgia House Runoff

"Opaque machinery raises questions about the vote count."

Alistair Morley said...


I rather took a different perspective on Jonah.

God already knows what he wills. But He wants Jonah to understand mercy; and for that he has to seem vengeful. God might not lie, but he can misdirect.

Of course, all the usual absurdities about free will and an eternal being committing a temporal act apply.

astrounit said...

"A Pence White House would not leak. It would be hell-bent, literally, on ending the world."

Exactly. THIS is the scenario that creeps inexorably nearer by the day that has worried me from the first. And I am dumfounded in my attempts to dissuade the legions of idiots who holler for a Trump impeachment without noticing the consequence. An incoherent idiot who likes to tweet is a dangerous thing. But an idiot with a passion is orders of magnitude more dangerous.

I hope our 'former' allies abroad in Europe and elsewhere have been carefully looking into contingency responses against what still seems unthinkable at the moment...and THAT would take plenty of careful consideration and fortitude if it required to be carried out. It isn't easy to see how anything as the current chaotic state of affairs will play out, but it may very well take just such drastic measures to preserve what remains of a free world and ensure it doesn't blow ALL of itself to smithereens. It would be an act of self-defense by a kind of amputation - but it would be an amputation of the cancerous dark forces of intolerance and economic dominion that would otherwise inevitably condemn the entire planet to oblivion.

locumranch said...


Being a tale about blind obedience, the parable of Jonah is more apropos than David knows: The Lord ordered Jonah to go unto Nineveh to denounce its wickedness, but Jonah disobeyed & fled, and everything from the storm to the fish to the ocean depths only served to prove that 'Resistance is Futile' and submission (to just authority) is fruitful.

The modern elitist, however, has learnt a different lesson from this ancient parable. Believing himself to be 'The Authority' (because Scientism), he expects enthusiastic servitude as his due, lest he subject his 'Jonahs' to assorted trials & tribulations.

Yet, this state of affairs simply cannot continue because the modern Jonah has learned something, too: “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!”

And, the Lord slew all those who would not obey him. He slew Jonah, burned Nineveh and became King of Ashes.

This goes double for the pissy little Elitists who would invalidate the last US Election:

Accept the will of the people or become kings of ashes.


Best

Tony Fisk said...

The will of the people... as indicated by three million votes?

Jumper said...

I am reminded of Charlie Manson's core supporters whom we never understood either. Smug, we were, never considering how they felt; how the Establishment had kicked them aside; how desperate and deep their experiences. Only Charlie spoke for them.

Save us, Charlie!

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Microsoft's second stab at an online AI presence crashed and burned, apparently for the same reason the first one did: It became a bigot because the input fed to it was bigoted. ...
The first attempt turned into a Holocaust denier, which leaves me wondering about the people who are programming these things.


My understanding is that it "learns" from social media postings, which makes me more concerned about what's out there on social media than it does about the programming itself.

LarryHart said...

Please indulge a digression.

There's an episode of the old Adam West "Batman" in which Mr Freeze tries to make it appear as if Batman is taking bribes from him in return for losing fights and running away. Because it's "Batman", the ruse is played out in so blatantly obvious a manner that only a six-year-old (yeah, er...choke, ahem) would be fooled, and yet the good citizens of Gotham City turn on their hero and make him persona non grata. Toward the end of the episode, when Mr Freeze demands a billion dollars not to freeze the city solid, Chief O'Hara gently prods Commissioner Gordon to "Go ahead, call Batman," and he almost picks up the Bat Phone, but then he lays down the receiver and says, "No, Chief O'Hara. Like so many of my fellow citizens, I'm afraid I've...lost faith in the Dynamic Duo."

When I first saw that episode in 1967, I found the plot incredulous. The so-called-bribery scenes were so comically ridiculous, Commissioner Gordon was a staunch ally, and Batman's character never wavered and was above reproach. How could Gordon, of all people, have his mind changed in such a manner?

Geez, it would have been almost-exactly 50 years ago that I saw that show, and that scene sticks with me to this day. It came to mind as I began to post here that I typically wish everyone (with apologies to the British) a happy July 4 Independence Day. I had intended to say something like "but this year, I'm not so sure that American Independence is something to celebrate." And then, unbidden, I heard echoing in my head, "Like so many of my fellow citizens, I'm afraid I've...lost faith in the Dynamic Duo," and my six-year-old refusal to credit the scene. And damn it, I'm not going to be that guy.

So, Happy July 4, one and all.

God bless the United States of America.

And we shall overcome.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ to Jumper:

We need something simple like scare quotes for rhetorical questions. 8)


Maybe we need to ban them for 90 days until we know what's going on.

(Homer Simpson: "In case you couldn't tell, I was being sarcastic.")

LarryHart said...

astrounit:

"A Pence White House would not leak. It would be hell-bent, literally, on ending the world."

Exactly. THIS is the scenario that creeps inexorably nearer by the day that has worried me from the first.
...
I hope our 'former' allies abroad in Europe and elsewhere have been carefully looking into contingency responses against what still seems unthinkable at the moment


If you've never seen or read Stephen King's "The Dead Zone", you might not want to do so just at the moment.

locumranch said...


As in the classic Weimar film 'Metropolis', David's cultured utopia exists above a bleak underworld populated by mistreated workers & resource providers consigned to exist as mechanistic labour units in the construction, maintenance & service of the very mechanisms designed to replace them.

Set in the year 2026 among the Gothic skyscrapers of a corporate city-state, the Metropolis of the title, society has been divided into two rigid groups: one of planners, thinkers & middle managers who live in urban luxury, and another of workers & resource providers toiling to sustain the lives of the privileged up above.

The crisis point arrives with the arrival of AI, the False Maria, who promises worker liberation but delivers the workers to their planned & pre-programmed extermination.

And, though you condemn us as Gumbys, Deniers, Moorlocks & Luddites and actively plan our eradication, those of you who self-identify as Enlightened & Privileged Eloi forget (as you forget the fluid nature of the Master/Slave dichotomy) that you exist at OUR pleasure, even as you plan our redundancy, obsolescence & extermination.

Whereas you fight for your 'privilege', we're fighting for our right to live, to exist ... and should we win the day, the 4th of July will no longer be known as an American holiday, but as the day when the world declared in one voice, 'We will not go quietly into the night! We will not vanish without a fight! We're going to live on, we're going to survive.'

Not today, but soon -- unless a truce is mediated -- we will celebrate our Independence Day.


Best
____
Larry_H channeling Kathy Griffith & Johnny Depp. Quelle Surprise !

Jumper said...

First it's "let me back in that coal mine" then it's "don't be a mechanistic labor unit." I was a mechanistic labor unit once or twice. Production goes up if you play rap music and goes down if you play "Free Bird." It's the beat, nothing else.

locumranch said...



First they came for the Coal Miners, and Jumper did not speak out—
Because he was not a Coal Miner.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and Jumper did not speak out—
Because Jumper was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for Jumper—and nobody gave a crap.

And they're coming for you next.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Locum. Brother asclepian. I can only give you Oliver Cromwell: I beseech you in the bowels of Christ: pray think it possible you might be mistaken.

Grievances based on exclusion, upon the excess of privilege and the rigidity of caste in this our Republic, are legitimate. They should and must be fought. This is a worthy goal, a righteous cause. They are failings throughout our society, not of one party upon another and most certainly not of one region or culture upon another. Example: I detest "legacy" admissions in universities. The only reason I will accept my child getting 'legacy' consideration for a school is because some other schmoe will get it otherwise. But were I Emperor, I would ban it; and would argue for abolishing it in the free Republic I much rather enjoy being a part of. I respect far more those schools that abhor it, and truly choose on merit and accomplishment. Though that too has faults: see the millions who mold their children's lives to the needs of an elite resume. The quest of Diogenes continues, generation upon generation, and it has only gotten fractionally easier since his tale was first told.

You persist in only hearing what you THINK we say, not what we actually DO say. You see us as your enemy because you have accepted the story that we are, by your own thoughts or by the persuasions of those you trust.

The vast majority of those you rail against KNOW they are your servants and not your masters. Davos, not the FBI, are those with the mentality of the over-floating elite; the ones with numbered Swiss bank accounts, not the products of Quantico or Fort Meade or Langley. But you will not hear us say that no matter how many times we do so. You will not accept our pleas, our offers to use the knowledge that we gained -- that you helped us gain -- for your benefit. You will not accept the wisdom we fought to earn. You deride us, suspect us, spurn us. We accept that you have grievances and you spit upon us, for only groveling subservience, a boot upon our necks, will satisfy your fear and paranoia and gnawing need. We bow and you spit upon us; we extend a hand and you stab it, treating it as the attack you perceive it to be.

And then you run to the very elites that placed you in your caverns of fear, saying "save me from the progressivist hordes!" And they will gladly do so. All they ask is that you stay in the caves. For your own protection, of course. They'll save you from the horrors of an open mind, from the liberating truth that comes from doubt. You'll have no need to be Saint Thomas; so much better to be a child on Crusade, confident that the Almighty has willed your sacrifice and that it'll all work out well.

If you insist that only pain and calamity will prove your freedom, that you must be able to choose to close your ears and march off a cliff to know that you are independent of Authority, then go ahead. Take that freedom. It's yours.

But don't expect us to join you; don't expect us to love you for your masochism; and don't expect us to submit if you try to insist upon it. When God sends the man in the boat to rescue us off the rooftop, we're getting on. You stay and explain at the Pearly Gates how he didn't give you the intervention you expected.

We are here for you, when you choose to stop your self-destructiveness. We will not help you with it: that too is what freedom means.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Yes, the coal miners are losing their jobs to Technological Progress: as the tailors did when the horrors of those vile Enemies of the People came along -- those dastardly Sewing Machine Manufacturers.

Saving the jobs of those coal miners will do us no more good than it did Britain to try and save those jobs in the last century. There is no law of nature, or of economics, that provides any job at all -- only what is economical, productive, profitable. If we insist on retaining jobs and towns and industries purely on the grounds of 'tradition' we will be buried by those who choose advancement and efficiency. It has always been thus.

The problems of how to secure against tyranny, and to spend time wisely, in an age where most matters that obsessed our ancestors (food, shelter, air and water, basic raiment, physical security) can be obtained by the labors of only a fraction of our people, how else should we spend our time and wealth? This is a worthy topic, and a serious one that deserves deep thought -- especially as it entails anxiety, when one perceives the more basic needs to be outside one's control. That control is vital: it is how we are reassured we are not slaves, even when we are served well and truly.

But despair cannot help. That road leads only to a small cabin in Montana, crafting bombs to send to professors in a futile attempt to remove the human need to innovate. I would rather us work for a world in which we use our spare abilities to provide greater health, mental well-being, belongingness and community spirit, transparency and accountability. The upper reaches of Maslow, and a society more in tune with the holy books of many (and the Gospel in particular) are in close reach than ever... if we so desire.

Or, you know, we can prefer our animal nature and set all against all. That's free will, again. It's all possible.

LarryHart said...

The slandering locumranch:

Larry_H channeling Kathy Griffith & Johnny Depp. Quelle Surprise !


Please explain, or admit you're lying out your ass.

LarryHart said...

locumranch might as well have said:


First they came for the American colonists...

Then they came for the Bastille prisoners...

Then they came for India...

Then they came for the Warsaw Pact...

Then they came for the black South Africans...

Then they came for me, and there was no one left to save me from the horrors of freedom.

David Brin said...

Plug for “The Two Georges” by my neighbor Richard Dreyfuss. A solid parallel world story in which Washington and George III worked out their differences. Never woulda happened. But fun, in light of Independence Day.

Our resident whiner speaks! And oh! Oh the self-pitying paranoia! The concocted strawman moaning! Go on, toddler. Roll on the ground and scream how much we - your patient, grownup, generous neighbors - HATE you and seek your DEATH!!!!!! Knowing there will be no consequences. Because -- while YOU would kill us, if your feudalists win and commanded it -- you know we'll just celebrate human diversity.

“And, though you condemn us as Gumbys, Deniers, Moorlocks & Luddites and actively plan our eradication…”

“Not today, but soon -- unless a truce is mediated -- we will celebrate our Independence Day.”

You romantic confeds were the tories of 1778 who backed Cornwallis and the King. Just as you later sucked up and died for the slave-owner Plantation Lords. And today you give utter devotion to oligarchs. But go ahead, wave the flag you regularly betray.

Oh, but then…”'Believing himself to be 'The Authority''

Lying, strawmanning imbecile. There is no place on Earth where there’s more joy in intellectual free tussle than here, You mistake refutation for suppression. ANd that is why the “I word” applies.

David Brin said...

onward
onward

Alistair Morley said...

To our American friends; Happy Independence Day, from Great Britain.

It didn't turn out too badly, in the end.

David Brin said...

Oh "unless a truce is mediated..." says a member of the cult that killed American negotiation and politics and respect for facts.

onward

opnward

Bob Neinast said...

And . . .

Lawsuit seeks to void Georgia congressional election results.

"Georgia’s electronic touchscreen voting system is so riddled with problems that the results of the most expensive House race in U.S. history should be tossed out and a new election held, according to a lawsuit filed by a government watchdog group and six Georgia voters."

* * *

"The lawsuit claims Georgia’s touchscreen voting system has severe security problems, lacks verifiable paper ballots and cannot be legally used for elections."

People are trying.

Anonymous said...

My understanding is that it "learns" from social media postings, which makes me more concerned about what's out there on social media than it does about the programming itself.

A book you might find interesting: Kill the Normies by Angela Nagle. It's a look at online culture from a sociological perspective.

David Brin said...

“ there are very few children (percentage-wise) left for civilisation to protect as almost 50% of all reproductive aged EU, US & Japanese women are CHILDLESS,”

What puckey.
1- The metric should be what fraction of women hits menopause childless. In other words what fraction of women have a child or two or three over the course of life. Most of locum’s foolish screech is about women delaying reproduction till the later portions of their reproductive span. In other words, he’s (again) either as liar or a dope.

It does not matter if there’s a phase delay and no one reproduces at 15 to 25… if they do it 25-40. Dope.

2- This delay has generally resulted in children being raised by parents who are wealthier and calmer and more mature, leading to better outcomes…. though a slightly higher autism rate, too.

3- A plummet in teen pregnancy should be applauded and it was huge under Obama.

4- Are many nations experiencing reduced birth rates despite this? Sure. The Earth’s population is way too high and this is the gentle way to save us all. But what’s the worry if US women are having roughly 2 kids? Sure, Russian women and some others don’t want to breed with their men. Russian demographic collapse is worrisome. To Locum because they are his best pals. To me, because it may lead to war over Siberia .

“We have become nations of indolent Grasshoppers “

Says a suck-up to parasite rentier moguls, wall street vampires, inheritance yacht-dwellers and playboys. The OTHER billionaires - who made our wealth - worked 80 hour weeks alongside ambitious scientists, engineers and other trades who locum’s confed know-nothings despise. Oh. THOSE particular, hardworking and productive folks are all democrats now… except some libertarians.

No major wealth creators are republicans. Ant my red arse.

But yay Locumranch! I hadn’t seen this insight! “The EU is led by those who have NO vested interest in either the future or in group survival: Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Theresa May, and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni are all childless. … Other prominent European leaders also have no children, including Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, Luxembourg Prime Minister Xavier Bettel, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.”

Wow! Now there’s an observation that actually contributes to the discussion! It is biased, since you know that he scanned lists of leaders and did not tally the reproducers. I would bet house and home that those with kids vastly outnumber his deceitfully selective list. Still… a good sally! We know you were capable of saying something that’s not utter nonsense!

Greg B: those ten rules are fine and dandy, but flawed.

1. They are not balanced and ignore a human’s need for both passion and to actually pursue victory, when right.
2. They are futile when the liberal faces someone who considers all such rules to be signs of weakness.