Sunday, October 29, 2017

Calling on sages and elder statesmen to help save us

Apologies for this late weekend posting. we took a break to attend "Of Mice & Men" and then a parade of antique steam engines...

First an announcement. My Questionnaire on Ideology has been updated and made more clear. These socratic queries may reveal assumptions that lie deep below, helping you see many things in a fresh way! Among those who have had their thoughts prodded for 15 years, not one has denied that assertion! Take the quiz and shake things up! Expand… your… horizons….

== Calling up the old guys ==

Talk about ingratitude. George W. Bush has been saved by Donald Trump… from being labeled the worst president of the 21st Century. Saved, by miles. (His father was by-far the worst of the 20th Century.) Yet what does he do? Bush's speech a week or so ago details our ‘democratic collapse,’ with obvious references to Trump — though, like Obama on the same stage, a while back, he did not utter the current president's name. W's speech called on a renewal of American spirit and institutions – which, of course, he undermined as president.

“Bigotry seems emboldened. Our politics seems more vulnerable to conspiracy theories and outright fabrication,” Bush warned three days after Sen. John McCain delivered a similar attack on “spurious nationalism” harkening to American ideals and democracy "We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil," McCain said in a blatant swipe at Steve Bannon and the confederate fascists. "We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn't deserve to."

And where have you been, during the Rupert Murdoch era?

Okay, let’s take a deep breath. Better late than never. Indeed, this is the perfect segue to…

== Calling on the ‘sages’ ==

My cousin, former FCC chair and PBS chair Newton Minow, has put out an appeal for our five living ex-presidents to step up when we need them.  His call is brief and — well — vague.  I mean, there are no legal frameworks for such a conclave… nor would they strictly need one. (Let me be clear that I deem two of these men to have been leading candidates for the title of “worst president in 100 years,” that is, till the title was seized overwhelmingly.)  

In fact, I have a trio of tasks for any ad-hoc conclave of senior American sages, that could start with a nucleus of ex-presidents. I’d add all former vice presidents, though that would let in a cipher and one genuine monster. Also invite former Supreme Court Justices like Sandra Day O’Conner. And top retired officers, like David Petraeus. Heck, add all American Nobel Prize winners? 

What role could such a commission of American elder statesmen play? 

1. Such an ad-hoc conclave might jawbone-intervene with the present  oval office occupant, or speak to the nation, reminding us by counterexample what presidents sound like.

2. They could help us get past the Fact Crisis, by overseeing creation of a fact-checking service -- one immune to the “partisan!” howls that get hurled when one political faction sees a favorite rumor or urban legend debunked. 

We don’t want a single “Ministry of Truth,” so set up several – a couple headed by reputable conservative thinkers -- to reciprocally critique each other! At least we’d see the worst crap washed away.  And with their arm-twisting, Congress might even re-establish the treasonously-killed Office of Technology Assessment (OTA). (Well, one can dream.)

Not one of the issues that you cry out about  is more urgent than this. For, if we restore the primacy of fact in our discourse, most of our current manias would vanish.

3. Elsewhere I describe how the Constitution’s 25th Amendment allows Congress to establish an “other body” — separate from the Cabinet -- that can respond quickly, if the Vice-President declares the President temporarily unfit to serve. Evidently, this “other body” can be set up in advance! 

It would have to be bi-partisan, in order to get enough votes to overcome Donald Trump’s veto. Hence, this Other Body could be the same council of American sages discussed above, standing ready, if needed, to act on an hour’s notice. See where I go into details: Exit Strategies and the 25th Amendment.

Alas, there are bright fools out there – like the LA Times’s Doyle McManus and Chris Reed of the San Diego Union – who croon that the 25th Amendment is a futile hope, because it officially sets a higher bar – 2/3 majorities in both chambers of Congress – than does impeachment and removal. But that is lazy thinking. 

First, GOP members of Congress will be far more likely to vote for a removal that’s temporary and calming than one that's permanent and traumatic. 

More importantly, if such an “other body” were set up in advance, it would give our military and intelligence officers someplace to go, if ever they were given an intolerable or crazy order by an unbalanced commander-in-chief. With a little comms infrastructure, such a council could give temporary control to the Vice President in less than an hour. 

Just knowing the Council of Sages existed would let our senior officers sleep better. And thus it would help us sleep, too.

So, yes, Newton Minow’s proposal for the ex-presidents to step up and speak is valid and important. I just fleshed out two additional, very specific tasks. 

And there's a fourth task that could be aided by some former presidents, and others. One that could end this wretched phase of the American Civil War.  It would call for courage and patriotism from at least fifty men and women who are true citizens.

Senators Bob Corker, John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and other adults - and sure, throw in Mitt Romney, Robert Dole and so on - can, should, and must finally hear the call of duty… and announce that this is not about just Donald Trump. Rather... to paraphrase Ronald Reagan … “The Republican Party has left us.”  If they find a critical mass, it could serve as a nucleus for a Sane American Conservative Party. And that could be the salvation of the Republic.

(This is not unprecedented! See elsewhere, how I describe the Democrats' own "Miracle of 1947" -- a crucial and fateful meeting that saved their party and liberalism in America. Conservatives could do the same thing -- that is, the sane and loyal and grownup ones could.)

One who is unabashedly calling for this? Jennifer Rubin, the longtime conservative columnist who had championed Mitt Romney and made excuses for the Bushes, has had the moral fiber to declare “enough.” And although she called Trump “evil incarnate,” she has the wit that’s lacking in most democrats… to see that Donald is a symptom of a disease that runs much deeper. 

“What’s a fit punishment for the Murdochs?” she writes, about those who predated Vladimir Putin and even the Saudis, at deliberately warping American institutions and destroying our national genius at genial pragmatism and negotiation. Gee, what punishment is appropriate for outright and deliberate treason? 

And of course this is why Corker and McCain etc. hesitate. They would be declaring open war on the Murdoch family, owners of today's undead GOP.
        
== Know the alternative ==

Fools who are so eager for impeachment… read about Donald Trump’s impeachment insurance policy.  From: The New Yorker: The Danger of President Pence. 
        
Seriously, the GOP lords know that Trump is a liability and are looking for ways to get rid of him in favor of their wholly-owned yes-massa puppet.  If Trump resigns or is removed, ownership of the White House will shift from a consortium of Putin-Pennywise over to Murdoch-Koch-Mercer and Goldman-Sachs. We can survive a few years with the shortsighted oligarchy running roughshod over us. They’ll regret it, the way the French aristocracy did.

No. The real danger from Mike Pence is far worse than depicted even in this fretful article. It comes from the fact that his version of Christianity is very different than that of Jimmy Carter. 

Carter focuses on the words of Jesus. Pence joins the fundamentalist fixation on the most noxious and vile book in the Bible – the Book of Revelation – a monstrosity of volcanic hate that is the opposite of Jesus in every conceivable way. (See how Patrick Farley both explains and satirizes that wretched tome here.)

They want the world to end. They pray for it to happen, and soon -- a bloodbath of spectacular sadism that will bring an end to all neighborliness or cooperation. An end to all ambition and fair competition. An end to almost all life on Earth. An end to all exploration, discovery or curiosity, and everything else that makes us human. An end to democracy and an end to the United States of America.

Make no mistake, this is what they have openly said that they pray for, daily -- for 99% of their own neighbors and fellow citizens to get the “deserved” torture and then eternal damnation that we (you and I) deserve. 

There is a mythology that we should ignore religion in making political decisions, but this is a clear exception.  Those who yearn for this psychotic thing are likely to bend all their powers to make it happen.

Moreover, Pence is smoother than the current POTUS. Trump’s Oval Office leaks! The Officer Corps is alerted to his craziness. But a Pence White House would be filled with tightly disciplined Dominionists. Hell yes, I am more scared of him.

Now comes the irony atop it all! “Hey Brin, didn’t you just say you want the Vice president to have, on-call, a Council of American Sages  (the ‘other body’ provided for in the 25th Amendment) able to quickly take an erratically dangerous president out of the chain of command? But wouldn’t that put ArmageddonBoy in charge?”

Yes, and make no mistake, we are in a delicate mine field between an unstable, impulsive, clown-car narcissist dancing to Kremlin strings on the one-hand and a devoted servant of the New Aristocracy who will be keeping an eye open for any excuse to bring apocalypse. 

But there is a path through the mine-field! Because the 25th Amendment only sets aside the president temporarily! (It would take 2/3 majorities in both houses to keep even a temporary set-aside going.) Pence would preside over a Trump-appointed White House.  That would delay him getting anything done for quite some time.  Perhaps long enough to give us a Congress loyal to America.

Note also this. It can be argued before the Court that the Council of Sages would then be empowered to respond if Paul Ryan, as Speaker of the House and next in line is effectively then 'vice-president' under terms of the 25th. Imagine if he made the same declaration about Pence!  (And Ryan has horror-baggage of his own.)

Oh, the mess that would ensue is beyond anything we ever, ever saw. Nothing written by Simon Pegg would even compare!  So why am I even going here?

Because someone has to. It’s my job.

123 comments:

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

“What’s a fit punishment for the Murdochs?” she writes, about those who predated Vladimir Putin and even the Saudis, at deliberately warping American institutions and destroying our national genius at genial pragmatism and negotiation. Gee, what punishment is appropriate for outright and deliberate treason?


Treason doesn't really apply, as Rupert Murdoch at least used to be a foreigner, and he essentially bought his US passport just because it was required to own a tv network.

He's not so much a "traitor" as an "enemy in the wrong uniform." So what punishment is appropriate for that one? :)

BTW, as a Democratic takeover of the House becomes more of a plausible threat, there might be a window of opportunity to convince Republicans that it is in their own best interest to impeach both Trump and Pence now, while Paul Ryan is third in line, rather than waiting for Nancy Pelosi to lead the charge for her own ascension in 2019. I may regret these words later, but I'd be willing to live with a President Ryan if it came about that way.

Tim H. said...

Contemporary conservatism looks to me to be mostly about reinstating the privileges of the ruling class, a President Pence might get in the way of that, ashes have no privilege.

Josh Freeman said...

"Pence would preside over a Trump-appointed White House."

I've made this comment here before, but I'll say it again. Pence presided over the transition. Pence picked most of the cabinet. The dominionists are already in the building.

And isn't dominionism more about theocratic control over the earth rather than bringing about Armageddon? They want dominion over the earth. So we could expect more wars, especially against Muslims. And more religion in schools (ie. Betsy DeVos) and a trampling of civil liberties including LGBT and other minority rights and abortion (Sessions, Kobach, and Carson). Perry has control of energy policy and the nukes. At least Price is out.

John Koziol said...

This is insane.

Bush I and II were not the two worst Presidents ever. Ever hear of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan? And impeach for what? What crime? If there were a demonstrable crime I'd be on your bandwagon hook, line, and sinker. But you're arguing from a viewpoint of petty differences and spite.

You know why Trump was elected? You know why he will be re-elected and why the GOP will retain the House in 2018? Hysterical dumb-asses like you who are going over the top. Do you think the radical "burn down the house" message resonates with the electorate? No.

Frankly it seems to me the childish rants and the protests and whatnot FURTHER cements Trump and his like in power. Act like adults and not churlish malcontents. Have a message. And then maybe, maybe, we can have a sane government and a sane discussion.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi John
Does the USA not have some rule about profiteering from your office?
And something about perverting the cause of justice by sacking somebody who is doing his job by investigating you?

Tim Wolter said...

John Koziol. You're doing a bit of ranting yerself. It detracts from your points which are largely correct.

T Wolter/Tacitus

Tony Fisk said...

Meanwhile, the first piece is moved.

Manafort.

Paul SB said...

Mr. Koziol,

I'm sure we could add Warren G. Harding to the list of worst US presidents, not to mention Ulysses S. Grant, but I would agree that Reagan's yes-boy and that son of a Bush belong pretty high on the list. Of course, there's a bit of observer bias in all such discussions, as the power for evil of people in the distant past tends to recede from our amygdalae. The same goes for the Grope. With his constant buffoonery flaunted in our faces every day, it's easy to see the man as Satan Incarnate. However, I wouldn't call protests over civil rights "childish rants" nor the anger over his attempts to repeal the ACA - not when the CBO publishes figures on how many people will die needlessly because of the alternative Republican health (don't) care plans. There's nothing like a body count to get people to sit up and notice, even if it's just a hypothetical body count.

As to the "burn down the house" message, isn't that exactly what got the Grope elected in the first place? The repugnant Party has been spouting a message of deep, incurable corruption in government since the Reagan era, at least, and have gone far to distort in people's minds what the government is both capable of and culpable for. Right-wing conspiracy theorizing is a far bigger driver of conservative votes than the rants on the other side. It is true that negative identity pushed some voters in 2016 - there were certainly people who were motivated by Clinton's "deplorable" speech to get out the Repugnant vote, but these were people who were most likely biochemical conservatives, anyway. Without that speech and the ensuing controversy, maybe a handful of them would not have bothered to turn out on election night, but don't forget that 65 million is bigger than 63 million. Grope didn't win the popular vote, and if the Repugnant Party keeps Capitol Hill in 2018 it will not be because of the voting public.

"Act like adults and not churlish malcontents."
- Have you read your own words?

Paul SB said...

Yesterday's TED Radio Hour had some very interesting points to make about polarization and rhetoric. In one section they discussed an experiment in which they had subjects divided by party affiliation, then had people of each side read one of three tracts about the current state of the environment. Actually, one tract was a control that said nothing about the environment, which is standard scientific procedure. One of the other two emphasized the dangers of climate change and the disproportionate impact it has on the poor. The other tract emphasized duty to the nation and loyalty, working from the ideas of energy independence and stewardship of the nation's resources. In the post tests, self-described liberals were not influenced at all by any of the tracts (no surprise there) and self-identifying conservatives were unmoved by the first or the control tracts, but the second tract that emphasized the kinds of values held more strongly by conservatives did sway many of the subjects to take climate change more seriously. The being that if you understand the enemy you are more likely to persuade. Liberals tend to do what comes natural to anybody, they try to convince people by bringing up the arguments that convinced them. Conservatives do the same thing, of course. It's worth checking out if anyone is interested in getting past the petty name-calling that has dominated the field for so long.

http://www.npr.org/programs/ted-radio-hour/

I would also note that the idea follows the same kind of thinking Helen Fisher uses when she discusses how people with different temperaments (the genetic side of personality) get along best. Hers is a much more detailed and nuanced explanation, but reading a book takes more of a time investment than watching a couple TED Talks.

LarryHart said...

With all due respect to the title of this blog post, "Calling on sages and elder statesmen to help save us", no one is going to "save us" in the sense of "Take the reins of power out of the hands of" Trump or congressional Republicans until they first lose the support of their base. As long as their voters continue to support their policies, feel that the opposition is worse, think all of the revelations against them are "fake news" or whatever, their political power will continue to grow and consolidate, no matter how the intensity of our dislike increases among those of us who already dislike Trump.

We need saving, true, but from our fellow American voters, who may have reached a critical mass of majority-deplorable.

LarryHart said...

John Koziol:

You know why Trump was elected? You know why he will be re-elected and why the GOP will retain the House in 2018?


Voter suppression, gerrymandering, FOX News, and deplorable voters who like Nazis. Oh, and Trump's radical "burn down the house" message resonated with the electorate.


Do you think the radical "burn down the house" message resonates with the electorate? No.


Really? It worked for you guys.

Anyway, since you obviously think you have to discourage us to keep your side from losing the tenuous hold you've got on power, you'll pardon us for not taking political advice from a troll.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

There were certainly people who were motivated by Clinton's "deplorable" speech to get out the Repugnant vote, but these were people who were most likely biochemical conservatives, anyway.


People who insist that it in bad form--either tactically or socially--to call deplorable people "deplorable" have no business whining against political correctness as a concept. But then people who revere the flag of those who took up arms against the United States and shot at its soldiers have no business whining about a peaceful protest being disrespectful to the flag and the troops.

Robert said...

Going off on a brief tangent... Dr. Brin, I think you might enjoy this alternative glimpse of how aliens might perceive humanity - it's just a bunch of short dialogue-fics from the POV of alien captains taking on human crew members and being warned of humanity's... oddities. Specifically? Our empathy and tendency to bond with other species.

For all the political failings we're facing right now and the fact the Trump Presidency is going to put us back for decades with LGBT rights with the hundreds of anti-LGBT judges being assigned on a Federal level... it's nice to see these brief glimpses of how people can see the POSITIVE side of humanity and hope for the best. And you are a prime example of that.

After all, was it not you who said we would raise AI as our children? Why would we do that but through our ability to empathize and bond with others, be they human or not? :)

Rob H.

Tim Wolter said...

"Voter suppression, gerrymandering, FOX News, and deplorable voters who like Nazis. Oh, and Trump's radical "burn down the house" message resonated with the electorate."

To be precise Larry you don't "know" this is why Trump won. You certainly feel it. And suspect it. But this is basically your opinion of the electorate. Worth noting of course.

Mr.Koziol is bringing another opinion here for consideration. Calling him a troll is bad manners. I told him that his style detracted from his argument. On occasion (and I say this as a friend) yours does too.

T Wolter/Tacitus

mark m said...

Not sure you saw this--nice complement to your ideas on lack of reality with the conservative movement https://weeklysift.com/2017/10/30/the-real-reason-republicans-cant-pass-major-legislation/

LarryHart said...

Tim/Tac:

To be precise Larry you don't "know" this is why Trump won. You certainly feel it. And suspect it. But this is basically your opinion of the electorate.


An educated opinion, but sure.

Worth noting of course.


Hence noted.

Mr.Koziol is bringing another opinion here for consideration.


It seemed like more than that. Maybe I misread intent.


Calling him a troll is bad manners.


That's another way of saying it's not politically correct, right? My point isn't that you are wrong. It is that when my side feels something is "bad manners", we're snowflakes who need safe spaces everywhere and want government to silence the opposition. Why does that only work one direction?


I told him that his style detracted from his argument. On occasion (and I say this as a friend) yours does too.


Point taken. I post here in all sorts of moods. This morning, I feel that I should be ecstatic over the Manafort indictment, but instead feel more like "It won't matter. Nothing will. Trump's supporters love him, even when they don't like his policies (Health care, taxes). They just like him." So yeah, I'm in a pissy mood, and it shows.

I'm not even disappointed with Republican politicians so much. Not even Trump. I'm disappointed that so many fellow Americans think what we're living through right now is okay, or that a Democratic administration would be worse. And (as a friend) that you yourself feel that way.

He may very well be right about Republicans and Trump winning future elections. That's nothing to celebrate, though.

matthew said...

So Tim / Tacitus what part of "Voter suppression, gerrymandering, FOX News, and deplorable voters who like Nazis. Oh, and Trump's radical "burn down the house" message resonated with the electorate," do you feel is unproven?


Voter suppression exists. If you do not believe this I can provide proof.
Gerrymandering exists. If you do not believe this I can provide proof.
Fox News is a right wing mouthpiece. If you do not believe this I can provide proof.
Deplorable Voters like Nazis. If you do not believe this I can provide proof.
Trump's radical "burn down the house" message resonated with the electorate. If you do not believe this I can provide proof.

Which batch of proof do you want first?
Or perhaps you've already seen ample proof *here* as well as other places and have decided that no amount of proof will suffice?

donzelion said...

To me, seems the nuclear football is the proper field in which to contemplate both a 'council of sages' and the 25th Amendment.

Lieu/Markey's bill (work of one of those colonels) contemplates a ban on 'nuclear first strikes' without a formal declaration of war. Removing the nuclear football until a council of sages affirms that the president is currently capable of discharging those duties makes sense as well. Congress could simply empower such a panel, referring questions and seeking sanction from them, before investing the survival of the species in any single man's good judgment.

In time, such a council of sages, acting as gatekeepers before handing over nuclear codes, could obtain separate status as trusted authorities for other purposes (such as independently asserting some other condition impairing the president's capacity). It is fit and proper that psychologists, doctors, biologists, and others evaluate whether any of the meds the president might be taking, or any other acute or chronic conditions, could impair his judgment.

Tim Wolter said...

Matthew

It's been a while. I do enjoy our discussions.

So..

Let's agree where we can. Gerrymandering exists. I don't like it. But I also don't see how that impacts the vote totals in states like WI and MI. So I would say your contention that this is part of how Trump got elected requires some additional evidence. It does have an impact on Congress and state legislatures of course so may have indirect influence on things like...

Voter Suppression. Or as others would call it Voter Fraud Prevention. This is a fair topic of discussion.

Fox News as a right wing mouthpiece. Sure. There are also, unless I am badly mistaken, left wing mouthpieces in the media world. Is this a bad thing? Does the presence of alternative views necessarily yield a noisome outcome? Should we ban some of them? Which ones? Please, I am serious here.

Now. Please provide data and source of same that indicates a significant level of approval of Nazis among Trump voters. No cheatin' now, not magic dog whistles, not ACLU tolerance of idiots,....real Nazis.

And has Trump ever used the phrase "burn down the house"? A quick google search shows Madonna fantasizing about blowing up the White House, and the inaptly named Reality Winner wanting to burn it down. Trump of course says a lot of stuff much of it gets past me.

You do me a disservice suggesting that my mind is not open to additional proof of other viewpoints.

I think that my ability to see viewpoints I don't agree with is pretty good. You know of course, as I have mentioned it several times, that I dislike Trump and did not vote for him.

T Wolter/Tacitus

LarryHart said...

@Tim Wolter,

This is becoming a three-way with you responding to matthew quoting and enhancing my arguments, so caveat emptor. Some confusion may ensue as to who is saying what to whom.


Gerrymandering exists. I don't like it. But I also don't see how that impacts the vote totals in states like WI and MI.


I'll give you this one as far as direct effect on the EVs for a state. Gerrymandering does influence the way state government is run, but that's an indirect effect which we can discuss at a later date.


Voter Suppression. Or as others would call it Voter Fraud Prevention. This is a fair topic of discussion.


I agree about the fair topic. It seems to me, though, that those who call it "voter fraud prevention" are using a euphemism. To me, the intent to disenfranchise clades who tend to vote Democratic is so blatantly obvious as to defy any other explanation. Those who defend the practice seem happy with it precisely because it gives outsized power to Republicans. If it honestly doesn't seem that way to you, then yes, it's a discussion we need to have.

Fox News as a right wing mouthpiece. Sure. There are also, unless I am badly mistaken, left wing mouthpieces in the media world. Is this a bad thing? Does the presence of alternative views necessarily yield a noisome outcome? Should we ban some of them? Which ones? Please, I am serious here.


I at least am not proposing banning. The original comment in question had to do with why we think Trump won. FOX is a big reason. And it's not just that the right-wing mouthpiece exists. It's that so many Americans see and/or believe only what is reported on FOX.

Now. Please provide data and source of same that indicates a significant level of approval of Nazis among Trump voters. No cheatin' now, not magic dog whistles, not ACLU tolerance of idiots,....real Nazis.


You're turning my comment around. I'm not claiming that all Trump voters are Nazis. I'm claiming that all Nazis (among American voters) support Trump. It used to be more of a convention for both political parties not to be seen blatantly courting that sort of element. Trump's campaign attracted them, and the bloc of Nazi voters did help him over the top.


And has Trump ever used the phrase "burn down the house"?


Have we or Dr Brin used the exact phrase? Trump appealed to voters with the notion that he would pull out of NATO, overturn trade agreements, and generally not follow conventional Washington wisdom but do things his own way. And all I was arguing was that the assertion that such assertions don't appeal to voters is self-evidently false as that's exactly what did happen.

Back to the your original critique of my own response, I do like to think of myself as someone who takes constructive criticism and doesn't shoot the messenger, so I'm tempted to let your critique stand. But looking back, the worst that I called anyone was "troll", and technically, I didn't even call him that. What I said was that we wouldn't take advice from a troll. For that, you felt the need to call me out on bad manners. Fair enough. But OTOH, the guy who called us dumbasses and churlish malcontents, you gave a polite warning that he's not being persuasive. Any wonder I tend to see bias--not just from you but from all of America--that Republicans get a pass, and rules of comportment are meant only to constrain liberals?

David Brin said...

Oy, we’ve been followed down here by one of my flakiest FB commenters. Hey JK do you ever actually read what you are commenting on?
1- I said worst presidents in 100 years, not ever.

2- What crime? DT’s blatant violation of the Emoluments Clause, for starters. Collusion with a hostile foreign power. But…

3- Sir, with respect you haven’t earned…. I am the one who keeps saying “DON’T impeach!”

Yammer yammer big-sounding words… but your mindless, treasonous confederate cult has almost none of the people who know facts. You have waged war against every adult or fact using profession for decades, starting with science, teaching, medicine, journalism but now including the FBI, Intel agencies and the US military officer corps. All the “deep state” enemies of your fantasies. Oh, yes, and science.

Tim W kindly back Mr. Koziol up with actual facts?

It was Republicans who made “burn it all down!” the theme of their mad talk-radio screeches since 92, and the only slightly more subtle hate-fest at Fox. Those stations fought to end the Rebuttal Rules in media, while mainstream media were fine with occasionally having fact-folks come on and say “that’s not true.”

If I had five minutes per day on Fox to say “that’s not true.” There’d be left only a smoldering ruin. Moreover, you know this. So who is burning houses?

It was the GOP who fired the only 90%-insane Newt Gingrich for actually negotiating, and replaced him atop the party with Dennis “friend to boys” Hastert, who burned American politics to the ground. We … are… only… fighting… back at long last.

Larryhart, we’ll see in Virginia soon whether Dems can draw enough sane American conservatives out of that mad coalition to finally start pushing back against the confederacy.

David Brin said...

Oy! Tim W is an example of what I call a sane adult conservative, and I have pinned my hopes that we can draw enough of them out of the madness to win this civil war and get back to politics. But he shows this is hopeless. He will calmly and politely ignore tsunamis of evidence. It is stunning.

Shrugging off gerrymandering. A deliberate crime of theft and treason.

Ignoring that GOP hit-men — their secretaries of state —always “lose” thousands of democratic registrations days before every election, as they did in FL in 2000.

Fox and the radio screamers do NOT have correlates on the left! It was tried and every left-screeching station went bankrupt, because liberals are moderates and wander off from even mild versions of Fox like MSNBC.

Again, Fox and Clear Channel fought to end the Rebuttal Rule, because it was death to them. NO media on the left or liberal center did that. THAT IS DIFFERENT, sir. It is fundamental. As if your party's putting sexual criminals in the top position, over and over and over again.

But you will not wake up to duty. You will rationalize and hand-wring and do nothing for your nation.

Tim Wolter said...

Larry

I felt a need to be a little more polite with someone I had just "met". You and I go way back. We see so few with genuine contrary views come here and stay. If you took offense I of course apologize. I really do want the full spectrum of ideas to be put forth in a way that does not defeat them via distractions.

Matthew was offering to dish up the proof. I just took him up on the offer. He put "burn down the house" in quotes.

Since we in Wisconsin don't have to register as being members of either party I can honestly say I am not a Republican. I'm independent and conservative. Sure, I vote for more R's than D's but some of each. I donate more money to D's, but really the amount is minuscule.

I would dearly love to see the Democrats learn the right lessons from their electoral setbacks and revive themselves. I suspect they don't want my advice on any particulars.

But I am often wrong.

T.Wolter/Tacitus

LarryHart said...

@Dr Brin,

I can't put words in anyone's mouth, but it seems to me that Tim is chanelling John McCain, hoping that if we liberals stick to politeness and civility, then politeness and civility will triumph. And while I wish 'twere true, I think that train left the station a long time ago.

I'm not saying I like wrestling in the mud. I'm saying that's what the American voter seems to want.

LarryHart said...

Tim:

If you took offense I of course apologize.


No, that wasn't where I was going. By all means, tell me when I'm going astray.

My difference with you is my difference with many other white Christian conservatives who act as if they're hopelessly defending their last redoubt, when I see them as winning on all fronts.

LarryHart said...

...so I guess that makes us both pessimists. :)


I would dearly love to see the Democrats learn the right lessons from their electoral setbacks and revive themselves.


On that, we agree.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Good quote via James Comey today that I thought might resonate here:

“‘Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary,'” -- citing American theologian and Comey hero Reinhold Niebuhr as the author of the quote.

Tim Wolter said...

A partisan effort to influence elections on the part of supposedly impartial Secretaries of State! Horrors!

https://ballotpedia.org/Secretary_of_State_Project

Seriously David, what exactly would you have me do? I have state assembly and senate people who are Republicans but reasonable sorts. I have a Democrat congressperson. Ex military and someone I have no reason to vote against.

I'm not about to start sending money to hypocritical weasels (Harvey Weinstein, Champion of Women's Rights!), there are no elections coming up, and I usually have better and more productive things to do than hold forth on the Internet.

I think you are misdiagnosing the illness of the body politic, but its your saloon.

T Wolter/Tacitus

Catfish N. Cod said...

@Dr. Brin: you know by now, I think, that we have rather close positions. Still I have to admit that the narrow point that gerrymandering was not the direct cause of the Presidential election is true, for the simple reason that Maine and Nebraska did not determine the outcome... those being the only states that assign votes using gerrymander-able districting.

That does not change the broader point, conceded (it seems to me) by T. Wolter/@Tacitus, that voter suppression is worth talking about like sane people. And as sane people, I have to point out to TW/T that all the studies showing large scale voter fraud are inferential -- often using multiple inferences with small sample sizes, a set of statistical sins. The studies that use actual detections of fraud, by contrast, are very small.

I see this same pattern at work: screen and confirmation. A screen is a method that is sure to find the search objects... and also lots of false positives. A confirmation method might miss some search objects... but the ones it finds are definitely real.

Voter suppression advocates point constantly at their screen results, ignoring that until confirmed they aren't real detections. And confirmation results show that the vast majority of screened are false positives.

This is why I cannot agree to the term "voter fraud prevention". There just isn't enough voter fraud (of that type) for it to do anything. Meanwhile the process is so inefficient that it excludes thousands of voters for every fraudster it might detect. That level of inefficiency leads one to believe it's (in some eyes) a feature and not a bug.

Despite that I would still be able to accept it as a measure to restore confidence in voting.... if the suppression were truly addressed. It's the refusal to do that -- to spend millions on excluding false votes and stinting on including real votes -- that eliminates the presumption of good faith.

Republicans like to tell themselves that Democratic victories come about through fraud. I'd be willing to believe that in the past a number of them were, in places like Chicago and such. But today? It's not happening to the scale that would justify the panic.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Likewise, I am not at all troubled by the existence of right-wing mouthpieces. We have had those for decades if not centuries. The disturbing part is how the right-wing propaganda-media relentlessly tout one line, the same line that now emanates from 1600 Penn. Ave.:

Everyone except our allies lie! Don't listen to them! Disregard anything they say!

And that is the problematic part. Because that's not what the "MSM" or left-wing propaganda say. They'll also say that right-wingers lie, but (this is the important part) they say go see for yourself. They're not afraid of what the right wing will say. They don't think they'll lose the informed viewer to the maelstrom.

And hey -- the right wing will indeed emphasize things the left won't! It's worth it for lefties to read righty screeds. But somehow the reverse supposedly isn't true. In fact, for a righty, the lefties are poisonous to read.

(Note that I do not refer so much here to the old right MSM. The WSJ and National Review and their ilk dabble their toes in disregard, but in the main, still treat their opposition like human beings worth responding to in discourse. Not so the new-right radio-blogo-Fox-Breit-Trump-sphere. To them, Democratio delenda est -- we are either subhuman or treacherous or cretinous or rubberspined or some combination thereof; but whatever the case, we are to be subjugated and ruled by the Better People of conservatism.

Do lefties laugh at righties? Most assuredly many do. And they frequently do not understand their conservative cousins and neighbors. But conquer and rule them? No, the lefties' worst sin is trying to convince and convert righties to their beliefs. This has been perceived as "harassment" and "oppression" on the right, a sentiment exacerbated by geographic clustering of Democrats -- which removes the reasonable neighbor counterexample. But these days it's still a very long way from the advocates of violence and revolution on the left over to the leadership of the Democratic Party -- indeed most criticism of the Democrats comes from them being too elitist and distant from the base. Not so Republicans... it's two, maybe three steps at most from the biggest movers-and-shakers to the people outright advocating revolution.

It feels to a late Xer or a Millie that Fox News rails against who their opposition was, back in the 60s and 70s. Back then, so the news recordings and textbooks tell us, there really was a lot of advocates for violent, armed revolution among the Left. Today? Heck, when I looked at the Occupy camps a few years ago, my concern was that they were being too peaceful and not policing themselves for provocateurs.

John Koziol said...

T Wilted. Yeah you're right. I'm guilty of ranting myself.

John Koziol said...

"Repugnant Party"? I rest my case. You won't find me using denigrating terms.

David Brin said...


Tim… “I would dearly love to see the Democrats learn the right lessons from their electoral setbacks and revive themselves. I suspect they don't want my advice on any particulars.”

There are many of us who would adore to get advice how to woo Sane American Conservatives over to a big tent of national salvation. Sure, anecdotally, there are lefties who will scream over this. But a vast majority of moderate liberals would love to see region-appropriate candidates take down both the Bannonite-crazies and the super-corrupt mainline GOPpers in every “red” district in America.

And yes, this is why I am pushing for retired officers to run. And yes, I want a lot of them to run as “style-conservative and fiscal-conservative and strong-military but actually sane” Democrats. But I’ll be honest: I’d be happy to see rebellious adult Republicans step up to take on the Bannonites and the Koch-Goldman shills in primaries.

“I'm not about to start sending money to hypocritical weasels (Harvey Weinstein, Champion of Women's Rights!)”

Bah, more argument by anecdote. THAT is what I am asking of you, Tim, to stop that stuff. You may not watch Fox or listen to Clear Channel, but they have got every single confederate in America convinced that citing a couple of rumors and a couple of anecdotes can cancel out all the facts and statistics in the world.

I could answer Weinstein with the Pussy-Grabber-in-Chief. Or with Dennis-friend-to-boys-Hastert… or the fact that every multi-divorced candidate for president and every one backed by gambling moguls is Republican. But I prefer statistics over anecdotes. And the GOP can point to no positive accomplishments! All negative, down the line, even in terms of conservative wants, like fiscal responsibility.

What do I ask of you, Tim? For starters, stop shrugging things off! Gerrymandering is a criminal conspiracy that used to be practiced by both parties till voters in most blue states rebelled. That testifies to the CHARACTER of blue voters vs red ones. As does the statistical fact that blues represent every fact-using profession.

If enough guys like you helped to form a Party of Sane-Adult American Conservatives, I would send YOU money! I don’t demand that you do this, by yourself, but you could talk about it with fellow grownup-sane conservatives.

John Koziol said...

Last 100 years David? My mistake then. Look, there are bad actors on all sides. Politics depresses the hell out of me.

John Koziol said...

And you make a decent point. The early 90s worked out OK because of the cooperation between Gingrich and Clinton.

David Brin said...

Catfish, hi. You know I've long offered a compromise... gradually increase voter ID requirements, in exchange for massive compliance assistance to help poor folks GET ID.

As for lying media, well, MSNBC tried to copy the successful Fox business model and almost went bankrupt. Liberals are not like Fox viewers. They do not like Nuremberg Rallies. The closest thing - Rachel Maddow -is so fact-drenched that it's a nerd festival. And still the liberals wander off elsewhere, as soon as she finishes.

This is about character.

Mr. Koziol:
""Repugnant Party"? I rest my case. You won't find me using denigrating terms."

1) I have never encouraged that here.

2) I have not seen you use such, point accepted, though you are a shill for confederate treason, you do seem polite.

But your remark is still hilarious. Your cult is volcanically more nasty, at every conceivable level, than its opponents and you know it.

John Koziol said...

Sane Party? It's called the Libertarian Party.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@LarryHart: My difference with you is my difference with many other white Christian conservatives who act as if they're hopelessly defending their last redoubt, when I see them as winning on all fronts.

That's basically the disconnect in a nutshell. And it seems (to me) to be a disconnect in expectations. Someone in the Marblebread world is generally fine with Christian conservatives being around (provided they keep their unpopular opinions from disrupting the community). But in the Whitebread world, the full expectation is a 360 degree totality of conservative Christian environment. Christianity in the schools, conservatism and Christianity in the government; Bible verses on the fast-food wrappers and stores with Christian-based policies; Christianity on the radio and conservative attitudes in the signs on the street and every little interaction with a religious reference. A surround-sound experience of reinforcement for the Whitebread identity: white, Christian, conservative.

To the Marblebread American, coming from a raucous, diverse urban environment where the idea of complete sensory or societal control is silly nonsense -- this looks alien and terrifying and sinister, almost cultish. Why do these people limit themselves so? they ask themselves.

But to the Whitebread American, it is the rough-and-tumbleness of the city that is terrifying. How can such chaos and infirm foundation be the substance of any civilization? How can they stand not having a common code, a preagreed set of relations upon which society can relie and be supported? How can such dynamism not lead to collapse, to anarchy, to ruin? Most of all, how can they not abhor the regular injections of new and unpredictable people and ideas, a sure destabilizer of a proper community?

And so, year after year, the rural Whitebreads predict moral depravity and certain doom to the libertines who have rejected the steady stability of Whitebread life. Yet that stability has not brought Whitebread America the peace and prosperity they believe is the fruit of Whitebread values. Indeed it is the Marblebreads gaining all the wealth, the power, the influence. How can this be? They have spurned righteousness, yet they prosper! And they cluster, far away from our proper nature.

And so arises the ancient claim that rural interests have always labeled urbanites with: they're dirty cheaters.

Now in most societies, in most times and places -- you could find swindlers in the cities. After all, that's where the money was. And that suspicion lay deep and tightly on the Founders of our Republic, who rightly suspected trouble lay in the industrial and commercial plans of Federalists like Hamilton. Indeed A.Ham had much to learn, as the speculative bank bubbles that led to the foundation of Wall Street's rule-based exchanges demonstrated. But Hamilton's scrupulousness, like Washington's example of service and Jefferson's dedication to principle, has served us well for a quarter century in reducing that problem to a minimum rarely seen in human history. There is filthy swampwater still, for a certainty. But nearly all the world looked to us to learn how to drain swamps.

At least, they did until this year.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Tim
A partisan effort to influence elections on the part of supposedly impartial Secretaries of State! Horrors!

Only in America is that even possible (and probably places like Russia)

Everywhere else has a neutral organisation in charge of running the elections fairly

donzelion said...

"Ignoring that GOP hit-men — their secretaries of state —always “lose” thousands of democratic registrations days before every election, as they did in FL in 2000."

I'd be cautious with such claims without a credible, authoritative source. The claim amounts to an allegation of rampant corruption - one that goes far beyond the existing claims by the ACLU, Brennan Center, or other reputable leaders I'm aware of who are involved in the many fights currently underway on topics of electoral law.

In statewide battles, groups like the Southern Coalition for Social Justice fight for say, 85 voters in North Carolina who were allegedly wrongfully disenfranchised; their complaints describe the process in detail (e.g., Bouvier et. al. v. Porter - http://www.southerncoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Complaint-Bouvier-et-al-v-Porter.pdf). I've alluded to how Republicans develop those lists of 'challenge candidates' elsewhere - again based on provable claims (McCain himself referred to them in detail in court docs).

I'm no more an ACLU lawyer than a member of the lordly caste, but would expect that were this claim actually 'proven,' it would be in court.

Gerrymandering is enough (though calling it 'treason' is your personal affectation - the phenomena itself has been amply demonstrated, though the map drawing process is often opaque by design). 'Voter suppression' is documented as well (at least, the disparate impacts on racial groups has been demonstrated; the discriminatory intent, to the extent it is necessary, remains to be proven in most cases) - as are the handful of incidents of 'voter fraud' that have occurred (see the Brennan Center's research).

Why mar what may be good analysis with a few tidbit conclusions derived from unproven allegations? One hopes a council of sages would not do so...

donzelion said...

Duncan: "A partisan effort to influence elections on the part of supposedly impartial Secretaries of State! Horrors!"

To believe in the conspiracy to do so, one must believe that the Democrats in those states are asleep, inept, or part of the conspiracy alongside the Republican Secretaries of State - that lawyers in those states are not motivated by financial incentives that would drive them to raise claims proving this - that a whole host of bureaucrats are so corrupt that they perpetrate ongoing frauds blatantly - and that the journalists and many other fact-users aware of it (or negligently unaware) permit the fraud to persist for some reason...

Horrors indeed. But really, why would the Secretaries of State bother with such fraud when they have gerrymandering to get them all the victories they need?

Duncan Cairncross said...

On the subject of non partisan organisations to maintain the electoral roles

The main political parties are NOT the population -
there are lots of "single issue" voters
Here and the UK there are enough people whose "single issue" is voting fairness

I suspect that there are also a lot of Americans who would consider voting fairness to be much more important than a specific party

https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/find-information-by-subject/elections-and-referendums

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi donzelion
why would the Secretaries of State bother with such fraud when they have gerrymandering to get them all the victories they need?

The same reason that I have dual circuit brakes on my car

donzelion said...

Tim Wolter/Tacitus: "I have state assembly and senate people who are Republicans but reasonable sorts."

Well, Wisconsin is the focus of today's gerrymandering debate, at least in the Supreme Court. Our host describes gerrymandering as treason; I'm not sure if I'd go so far, but I'd also not describe it as the conduct of 'reasonable sorts' of people.

"I have a Democrat congressperson. Ex military and someone I have no reason to vote against."

Well, I do recall spending a bit of digital ink asserting that Feingold was a better choice than Johnson last year. I don't think I swayed you much. ;-)

"I would dearly love to see the Democrats learn the right lessons from their electoral setbacks and revive themselves. I suspect they don't want my advice on any particulars."
You might be surprised. I wouldn't say they're more likely to pay much heed to your advice, but only that the price for gaining an ear is a bit different (and looking over their processes, community representatives tend to gain a larger opportunity to speak than 'secretive benefactors'). At least, that was McCain/Feingold's effort...

LarryHart said...

John Koziol:

"Repugnant Party"? I rest my case. You won't find me using denigrating terms.

...

Hysterical dumb-asses like you ...

Act like adults and not churlish malcontents...


Just sayin'

LarryHart said...

John Koziol:

Sane Party? It's called the Libertarian Party.


What can I say? Who knew you had a sense of humor?

donzelion said...

Duncan: My claim: "why would the Secretaries of State bother with such fraud when they have gerrymandering to get them all the victories they need?" Your witty rejoinder: "The same reason that I have dual circuit brakes on my car"

Hmmm...well, as I understand it, you have dual circuit brakes because it's highly unlikely one circuit will actually impair the other - the dual system creates a sort of failsafe, no? I assume most engineers do not design safety measures that create more risks than they protect against...

Extending your metaphor to fraud, one form of cheating is illegal (and perpetrators are highly likely to get caught); while another may BECOME illegal (depending on how Whitford comes down). I would credit political operatives with some comparable modicum of sense - they prefer to avoid trouble and eschew risks when they can (no, I am not saying they are good, nor defending or rationalizing them - only assuming they are also risk avoidant).

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:
Voter suppression advocates point constantly at their screen results, ignoring that until confirmed they aren't real detections. And confirmation results show that the vast majority of screened are false positives.


They usually point to those who have moved and are still on the voter rolls at their old address as well as their new one. Or dead people who are still on the rolls. In the vast majority of cases, this is just the slowness of the bureaucratic system at work. It's not even illegal unless the person actually attempts to vote in both places.


Despite that I would still be able to accept it as a measure to restore confidence in voting.... if the suppression were truly addressed. It's the refusal to do that -- to spend millions on excluding false votes and stinting on including real votes -- that eliminates the presumption of good faith.


That's my point exactly. Even the proponents of the voter suppression schemes talk about it as if they point of the exercise is to make it difficult for blacks, students, or Hispanics to vote. The implication being Hispanics are illegal so they shouldn't vote, students are just invaders in their college towns, so shouldn't be able to vote, and blacks...well, we just know what they're up to, right?

Republicans like to tell themselves that Democratic victories come about through fraud. I'd be willing to believe that in the past a number of them were, in places like Chicago and such. But today? It's not happening to the scale that would justify the panic.


I'll concede that urban Democratic machines used to be the source of election fraud (not voter fraud). That all has changed. It's almost exclusively a Republican sport now. Waukeshaw (WI)--where machines containing thousands of Republican votes just happen to show up after the other votes have been counted--is the new Chicago.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

Mr. Koziol:
""Repugnant Party"? I rest my case. You won't find me using denigrating terms."

...

2) I have not seen you use such, point accepted,


???

His very first post contained at least two insulting terms directed at us. The post above the one you just quoted, he called Tim "Tim Wilted". The derogatory terms just come spewing out, probably without his even thinking hard about that fact that he's doing it.

Sorry, but you seem to reinforce my complaint that Republicans get a break on rules of comportment that Democrats are expected to follow.

David Brin said...

donzel: “To believe in the conspiracy to do so, one must believe that the Democrats in those states are asleep, inept, or part of the conspiracy alongside the Republican Secretaries of State…”

Um? Have you ever heard me compliment the intelligence or tactical savvy of most DP pols?

“why would the Secretaries of State bother with such fraud when they have gerrymandering to get them all the victories they need?”

Cripes! We had 8 years of GW Bush because the Florida SoS “lost 80,000 dp registrations, then diverted attention to a few hundred hanging chads.

JK: “Sane Party? It's called the Libertarian Party.”

I have been invited speaker at many libertarian events and I dream of a day when they remember they should stand for flat-fair competition, and recall that for 6000 years the enemies of such markets were owner-lord oligarchs and not “big government.”

But we see right through you. You are one of those who see libertarians as an extreme danger of deserting your sinking confederate pestilence-ship. Every effort goes to the line: “Yes, the GOP is awful! But… but Democrats are worse!!! Yeah, that’s the ticket.”

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

But really, why would the Secretaries of State bother with such fraud when they have gerrymandering to get them all the victories they need?


Gerrymandering only gets done every 10 years (all exceptions duly noted). It's a blunt instrument, not a fine tool. And in any case, it has no affect on statewide elections or local municipal elections.

Purging inconvenient voters is a much more useful tool, plus it doesn't show up on a recount or exit polls or any such analysis of votes actually cast.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Gerrymandering...has no affect on statewide elections or local municipal elections."

All true (though gerrymandering is immensely effective...). Yet so long as purging 'inconvenient voters' is done in accordance with processes that are relatively transparent and easily challenged (see the North Carolina challenges I linked to earlier) - alleging fraud will be counterproductive.

De-registration most often applies to somewhat transient voters who do not own their own residence (and may be disproportionately Democratic). Rather than assuming corruption, assume that the ordinary challenge rules raise systemic problems for transient voters (how do you 'prove' residence to the DMV's satisfaction if you just moved to a new city? A lease, property deed, or utility bill in your name at that address? but that excludes many sub-tenants and others who 'reside' in one location, but pay bills indirectly...)

If we issue wild allegations, then the discussion with Secretaries of State will be a contentious fight. If, instead, we start with the facts and then work back towards remedies, we stand a far better chance of both fixing the problem and catching the occasional cheater (and at the very least, our effort to acquire facts will put us in a better position to challenge cheaters later on).

Duncan Cairncross said...

donzelion

The US system is so fragile that a Secretary of State does not have to have a permanent "purge" it is enough to purge the voters so that they miss the election

Or even so that their votes go in the provisional pile never to be counted

De-registration has been done by "Name" - where people with similar names in several states have their names pulled from the register

Funny thing is the names were all "Hispanic"

This happens every election cycle but there are no penalties for removing valid voters - even when like the North Carolina case the people who did the de-registration are on record of saying that they did it for political/racial purposes

Zepp Jamieson said...

The GOP has been on a concerted campaign to commit regulatory capture of the government with the express aim of destroying the government's ability to protect the people from the avarice and vagueries of corporations or churches. This includes stolen elections, a stolen SC seat, and 2/3rds of the state governments.
Why would they stop at secretaries of state?

donzelion said...

Duncan: Well, the North Carolina defamation action I linked to indicates at least one possible remedy. Relatively few people will ever go that far (who is crazy enough to pay $$$ to challenge someone who challenged their vote?... a problem I'm working to fix, along with a few thousand friends... ;-)

Yes, I'm aware of the process for challenging registered voters, the effect of challenges (note that provisional ballots are indeed counted when they have the mathematical possibility of changing an outcome) - the system is relatively transparent, intensely competitive (esp. in the primaries and school district votes, where a few dozen votes will often make a huge difference). Spend some time supervising the effort, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Is it perfect? Hell no. As with science - impostors try to inject frauds every now and then. As with science - competitors in the game have means of detecting and rectifying frauds (and it's much easier to do than in science).

The problem on the Left is that partisans - say Michael Moore, for example (and our host, occasionally) - so often overstate their claims, when the simple, fact-driven truth suffices to achieve what they really seek. In so doing, they sabotage efforts that could actually show significant progress.

"even when like the North Carolina case the people who did the de-registration are on record of saying that they did it for political/racial purposes"
In the N. Carolina case I linked to, I don't have a statement on record by Porter (yet) - I hope to get that soon (more likely, he'll just default). For other cases that are ongoing (e.g., this one, https://www.facingsouth.org/2017/04/prominent-va-politician-implicated-nc-gop-voter-fraud-deceit) - there's work afoot. A lot of (unpaid) work...

Paul SB said...

I keep seeing that 'Repugnant Party" term get bandied about, so I have to point out that I was the one who did it in the first, not Dr. Brin. Either Mr. Koziol was confused or was trying to tar everyone here with the same brush. It's a very human thing to do, but not in a good sense. Then again, my sarcastic nickname isn't exactly noble, either. Apologies! Sometimes my dorsolateral pfc just doesn't cut it and I find myself eating my words. It tends to happen more in the winter when the weather gets gloomy, but hat doesn't quite negate the mea culpa.

Larry, I assumed that the "Tim Wilted" thing could as easily have been an autocorrect error. The gods know I have perpetrated more than a few of these inadvertently. Some of them even caught on for a little while (remember "thunder and does?"). But the hostility Koziol introduced himself with, ironically doing exactly what he was accusing others of, came across as entirely typical conservative indignation addiction. You get a little squirt of dopamine with every rant, which is why they keep going back for more. Yes, there are lefties who do the same, but the other side has made it their #1 rhetorical technique.

Anyway, civility can be very hard to come by. Sorry my knee-jerk reaction was nearly as bad as what I was reacting to.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

I assumed that the "Tim Wilted" thing could as easily have been an autocorrect error. The gods know I have perpetrated more than a few of these inadvertently.


Yeah, you're the autocorrect king! And yes, in a vacuum, I might have presumed the same thing.

But the hostility Koziol introduced himself with, ironically doing exactly what he was accusing others of, came across as entirely typical conservative indignation addiction


Exactly. The comment wasn't in a vacuum. The guy introduced himself to this list by calling us hysterical dumb-asses and churlish malcontents, and then asserted that (unlike us) he doesn't make denigrating comments. Aside from the humor value of all that, I got the impression that he's got the popular (though erroneous) conception of Tourette's Syndrome in which the insults come flowing out without the speaker even being aware he's doing it.

John Koziol said...

Paul, don't mistake despair for hostility. The funny thing, to me, is that you all keep calling me a conservative, or as David puts it "a treasonous confederate". I am not, and never have been, what one can call conservative. Sure, I have conservative values but I also have liberal values.

I don't like naked partisanship. You think I rain on your parade? You should see my rants on right-wing posts.

I don't like Trump very much either. But it wasn't my ilk who got him elected. What got him nominated was that your regular joe (or jolene as the case may be) saw him as an alternative to packaged and groomed phony politicians - what got him elected was some of that and the really crappy and out-of-touch politician that Hillary was. She thought she could phone it in.

There are very few people of principle in Washington these days and we aid and abet those that are there with insults and absolutism. So what happens in 2020 or 2024? Well then we get the next blowhard who considers progressives or conservatives enemies of the people and tilts too far to the other side.

Americans inherently have a sense of fair play but we don't always get it right immediately. Civil rights, gay rights...these things took time. When and where I grew up there was a separate fountain in a park where I played - "For Coloreds Only". That wasn't right...I instinctively knew that and I'm sure I wasn't alone. And eventually it went away.

I believe that the hyperpartisanship we see now does nothing but alienate the majority of Americans who live their lives and only pay attention to politics when it's time to vote, and maybe not even then.

I go back to what I said before with elaboration. The nastier you get with the invective versus Trump while it turns a few folks against him it alienates both those that support him and those who simply don't like the constant disruption.

In short: With your words you didn't prevent Trump...you created and empowered him. And in 2020 if conservatives go full on nuts against Warren or whomever (we'll see) we'll create that potential monster too.

Tony Fisk said...

Tim said: And has Trump ever used the phrase "burn down the house"?

Perhaps not those precise words, Tim. What he *has* said is this:

“A lot of people live better without having a job, than with having a job. I’ve had it where you have people and you want to hire them, but they can’t take the job for a period of nine months because they’re doing better now than they would with a job.”

“You know what solves it? When the economy crashes, when the country goes to total hell, and everything is a disaster, then you’ll have riots to go back to where we used to be, when we were great.”


It is a sentiment that echoes that of his absentee advisor Steve Bannon:

“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.


Hell and burning tend to go together.

donzelion said...

Enjoyable reading for the night: https://www.justice.gov/file/1007271/download

Note the fixation on taxes in the Manafort/Gates indictment; that really is the secret sauce to how powerbrokers are brought low...a point I've harped on elsewhere.

I'm skeptical we'll see the basis of a Trump impeachment here, but who knows? Manafort was a known player in representing a long list of deplorables, as well as the occasional firm just trying to get it's piece of low income housing subsidies from HUD...(how did Trump's dad make his money again?) (and what's Carson been up to at HUD these days, anyway? http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a57148/ben-carson-hud/)

At the very least, trying to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Trump's campaign manager (and a player on 4 other Republican presidential teams) is a swamp creature is a step in the right direction. How many indictments and convictions were made of Obama's central team (after soooo many allegations and investigations)?

David Brin said...

Har! JK backpedals so well! "Me? I'm not responsible for this mess! No not me! I was never a Republican! I was always... what's that word? Ah! A libertarian!"

Never mind that competitive enterprise always does better under dems. Always There are zero metrics of US national health that don't do better across democratic administrations. See: http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/06/so-do-outcomes-matter-more-than-rhetoric.html

It is the same line. "I know my side has gone mad, but so I disavow it! But always arrange to disavow their opponents more! So that I can get confederate results without acknowledging my treason."

Alfred Differ said...

@ John Koziol | Sane Party? It's called the Libertarian Party.

Ha! That is mighty generous of you. I appreciate it, but I'm not sure it is fully deserved. Take a look at some of our potential Presidential candidates from last year's convention speeches. I was embarrassed by at least one of them and was appreciative of the fact that we have a former GOP governor who seems willing to represent us. He even seems to think he IS one of us. Pretty cool considering how many of us are antisocial nutcases.

I have a few friends who are far more inclined to be minarchists than I am, but they help draw an important line about what it means to be a Libertarian, so I have to respect them. They wish to be left largely to themselves and the relationships they form in a voluntary manner. They rarely get what they want because so many others would have government do things. When others suggest that they band together and take over to MAKE others leave them be, though, they are repulsed. The suggestion violates a Libertarian principle and they won't do it. It does not violate a Confederate principle, though. Can you see why?

John Koziol said...

Good points, Alfred. Libertarians are defined as "I do want I want, you do the same". Inherently it means that we're herding cats. Yes, I see that taken to the extreme it would support confederate principles. But, man, somehow the tyranny of only two parties has to b broken.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred Differ wrote: "Pretty cool considering how many of us are antisocial nutcases."

I think just the fact that you made that statement excludes you from that category.

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp | I try. My wife wonders sometimes, though. 8)

@John | It's not really a tyranny of two parties. It is the dominance of one idea. At one level it sounds like "I know what is best for you." At another it sounds like "You did wrong and I'm going to work with others to punish you." We are social critters, so it is wishful thinking to imagine we can avoid the idea completely as the anarchists might prefer. However, it IS possible to persuade people that it is best they not take it too far if they wish to avoid us trying to to the same against them.

You can see this moderation in the US if you look for it by breaking certain social taboos. Walk into your work environment, pick some introvert, and ask them detailed questions about their religious choices. Everyone around you will react demonstrating a mostly unspoken modern custom. Religion is mostly a private matter in this country for most of us. Anyone who breaks this rule is someone who might be inclined to act on "I know what is best for you."

These customs are hard to build, but not impossible. They require of us that we grant some dignity to others whether we like their opinions or not. Difficult. We used to find it easier when it was difficult to know and potentially costly. Now, though, it is dirt cheap and utterly simple. Just drop by FB, read the torrent, and come face to face with annoying differences between ourselves and those we thought we knew.

The road to these customs is paved with a particular stone called Temperance. This virtue requires of us that we shut our mouths often and listen to the truth as it is expressed in others. It is not a form of self-abnegation, though, so we get to keep our own opinions. All we have to do is stop, listen, and possibly learn. Hard to do, but possible with practice.

TCB said...

donzelion upthread said: "The problem on the Left is that partisans - say Michael Moore, for example (and our host, occasionally) - so often overstate their claims, when the simple, fact-driven truth suffices to achieve what they really seek."

Partisan Michael Moore may be; and he does exaggerate in a satirical way (that's only his whole career model!)

But it really kiiiinda pisses me off to see how routinely he gets slagged on. He's ten times the American most of his critics are... and Michael Moore has a nasty habit of being the only guy in the room who sees something. He has a nasty habit of being right.

Exhibit A: It was Moore who predicted that the upper Midwest was weaker for the Clinton campaign than anyone realized, and he predicted that Trump would go to the White House. When everyone else reacted to this prediction with "Oh, no! Don't even say that!" and whistled past the graveyard, my thought was "Well, shit. If he says that is a problem, that is a problem."

Paul SB said...

Alfred, the stone called Temperance gets harder and harder the older people get. Of course it is all about comparison - everything in the human mind is. The relevant comparison here is Temperance vs. Limbic System. Most people's frontal lobe myelin starts to drop off after age 30, and that decline has a lot to do with why there are so many cranky old curmudgeons who act like small children (naming names is hardly necessary, is it?). I used to have a reputation for being a very good listener, but years of piloting rooms full of teen felines has eroded that skill. Part of being a good listener is to make listening into a no-judgement zone (as much as is humanly possible, anyway). But in a forum where politics is regularly discussed, that becomes increasingly difficult. Politics is all about choosing sides, and being judgmental goes with the territory. Partisan posturing is an effort to broaden that territory. Once Temperance gets past 6 on Moh's Scale of Hardness, it becomes very hard to get off the elevator to the top, as a few of our regulars demonstrate.

I have to agree with John that our current state of hyper partisanship alienates a huge segment of the populace, but I dig for deeper causes, just as you did identifying the meme behind the two parties. (NB, though - the "I know better than everyone else" meme doesn't explain why we have only two parties, only why those two are so strident.) As is often the case, I think demographics can tell us a lot here. We have an unusually large proportion of grey-beards and blue-hairs with little else to do but talk smack and get hostile in their "golden years." There are all sorts of competitive arenas in society that can draw such lobe-challenged people in, but politics has a particularly strong draw for those who are quick to anger and fast to fling philippic, precisely because it is important for a social species that has outgrown its instinctive boundaries.

LarryHart said...

John Koziol:

I don't like naked partisanship. You think I rain on your parade? You should see my rants on right-wing posts.


I'm willing to consider that I jumped the gun on getting off on the wrong foot with you yesterday.

The thing is, I think "naked partisanship" is itself a partisan (Republican) thing these days. Opposition to that naked Republican partisanship--I wouldn't vote for a Republican for dogcatcher these days--is taken as its own naked partisanship on the Democratic side, but that's just not what's going on. I don't have to love Democrats or have an unrealistic expectation of the goodness of Democrats to despise Republicans.


I don't like Trump very much either. But it wasn't my ilk who got him elected. What got him nominated was that your regular joe (or jolene as the case may be) saw him as an alternative to packaged and groomed phony politicians - what got him elected was some of that and the really crappy and out-of-touch politician that Hillary was. She thought she could phone it in.


That's all true to some extent. But I think all of that--Hillary's perceived boringness and Trump's appeal--have to do with our perception of the presidential race as a sporting event and/or reality tv show. We, the country in general, don't look to elect the most competent candidate for a difficult and important job (that would have been Hillary). Instead, we want an entertaining candidate. A candidate who reflects our anger and other worst impulses. A candidate who will make the other side's "heads explode!"

It's a bad idea to treat the presidency as a prize that is "earned" by the candidate who best navigates the game of campaigning. We should elect the candidate who can best serve us, not the one who plays the game better. But in the current day and age, I could totally see even the actual Hitler getting elected if his opponent didn't do a good enough job of entertaining us along the campaign trail. People don't think about the real world consequences of their vote.

Well, most people anyway. The Republicans do. I suppose that's why they win.

LarryHart said...

John Koziol:

I go back to what I said before with elaboration. The nastier you get with the invective versus Trump while it turns a few folks against him it alienates both those that support him and those who simply don't like the constant disruption.


Are you saying that nasty invective doesn't work against Republicans, or that it doesn't work at all? Because it self-evidently did and does work for Trump.

Darrell E said...

@ LarryHart,

Gerrymandering can and does have an effect, albeit indirect, on state-wide elections such as Senate and POTUS. The more political power a party has in a state the more opportunities they have for influencing how voting for all types of elections, including state-wide elections like Senate & POTUS, are conducted in that state. Pretty much all of the methods alleged to have been used to perpetrate alleged election fraud lately are empowered by gerrymandering.

Paul451 said...

A post spasm. It goes on for awhile, but presumably I'll get tired and stop eventually...

--

Catfish,
"Still I have to admit that the narrow point that gerrymandering was not the direct cause of the Presidential election is true,"

Not quite. Gerrymandering didn't directly influence the outcome of the Presidential race, the way it does the House. But through the rigging of state-districts, and hence the power of state Republicans in excess of their actual election results, it allows those state Republicans to rig the Presidential level via those other tactics, such as the many methods of voter suppression that have been used. Not the least of which is the systematic expunging of undesirable voters (ie, Dems) from the polls.

--

Tim,
"Seriously David, what exactly would you have me do?"

Stop making excuses for the bad guys? Stop trying to explain away deliberate acts aimed at harming democracy, harming your country, by regurgitating this "both sides are the same" bullshit.

Your raising of Rapey Weinstein is a perfect example: A) Both Donald Trump and Harvey Weinstein are sexual predators, serial sexual assaulters, and probably both rapists. Yet when public accusations were made against Weinstein, especially when enough other women, emboldened by numbers, showed that it was not a one-off he-said/she-said event but a he-said/they-all-say life-long pattern of behaviour, he was ostracised by the centre and left. Shunned, mocked, held up by the centre and left as an example of failure of Hollywood to self-police. No lefty nor mainstream media systematically made excuses for him. Meanwhile, Trump, subject to similar accusations, is not only unaffected, it seems to have made him more beloved of the Right, and protected by the Right's propaganda machine. How exactly is Weinstein an example of "both sides being the same", which was your intent in bringing him up.

And B) You've repeatedly claimed not to be a drone of the Fox/Breitbart propaganda machine, yet once again you repeat the same talking points and tactics.

--

David,
Re: Libertarian Party
"I dream of a day when they remember they should stand for flat-fair competition, and recall that for 6000 years the enemies of such markets were owner-lord oligarchs and not "big government." "

As the saying goes, it's hard to convince a man of something when his paycheck depends on him not understanding. The modern LP is largely funded by a handful of oligarchs, such as the Kochs.

Paul451 said...

Larry,
"Gerrymandering [...] has no affect on statewide elections or local municipal elections."

I would think it even more explicit and deliberate in local elections. The very boundaries where a community is "incorporated", and who is excluded. (Through to the single-purpose special districts, such as the infamous case a few years back of the special business district carefully constructed to exclude every actual resident. But they missed one person, who was briefly the only voter. (Then they mysteriously found a couple more "residents" who coincidentally voted the way the owners wanted.))

--

Donzelion,
Re: "Challenges"
"Rather than assuming corruption, assume that the ordinary challenge rules raise systemic problems for transient voters"

However, as has been noted repeatedly, the Republican party has created front-organisations that explicitly target likely-Dem voters for last minute challenges. It's clearly for a corrupt purpose, so why shouldn't it be called such?

As Larry noted about Koziol's name-calling hypocrisy, "Republicans get a break on rules of comportment that Democrats are expected to follow."

Why must we hold our tongues so we don't offend the people committing the offence?

--

TCB,
Re: Michael Moore.

He's an interesting example of the Republican-Paradox. The two groups that hate him the most are people he's spent his entire life trying to defend, and the oligarchs attacking those people. The latter makes sense, but the former? (His first film, after all, was about the plight of working class (mostly) whites.)

Paul451 said...

Koziol,
"Civil rights, gay rights...these things took time."

They didn't take time, they took blood.

"there was a separate fountain in a park where I played - "For Coloreds Only" [...]
[...] And eventually it went away."


As if it was just a thing that happens automagically. No "hysterical" activists required. It was there, it made you uncomfortable but you didn't do anything about it, and then it just "went away". Clearly not at all related to the shouty people who caused all that uncomfortable ruckus at the time.

"With your words you didn't prevent Trump...you created and empowered him. And in 2020 if conservatives go full on nuts against Warren or whomever (we'll see) we'll create that potential monster too."

Because Trump and Warren are the same monsters, just on opposite sides?

Re: The terrible terrible name-calling.
"The funny thing, to me, is that you all keep calling me a conservative [...] I am not, and never have been"

Then a few lines later,

"if conservatives go full on nuts [...] we'll create "

"We", "conservatives".

Paul451 said...

Alfred,
"I have a few friends who are far more inclined to be minarchists than I am, but they help draw an important line about what it means to be a Libertarian, so I have to respect them. They wish to be left largely to themselves and the relationships they form in a voluntary manner. They rarely get what they want because so many others would have government do things."

The problems of minarchists are an important display of what it means to be libertarian, but hardly worthy of respect.

Ask them, why shouldn't they "get what they want"? Why shouldn't they be able to live their lives as they wish, with no government? Why don't they hire mercenaries or security companies to protect themselves from the predation of others? They will answer, rolling their eyes at the obviousness, "Because the government, the Statists, won't let us!", (implicitly, "they are more powerful than us, and we can't deal with unequal power", as you similarly imply in your last eight words.) And even while saying it, they can't see that the failure mode of libertarianism is written right in front of them, in their very inability to live as minarchists. Why is that wilful self-blindness worthy of respect?

But Minarchy, in its reductio ad absurdum, has value in that it demonstrates the same flaw in libertarianism in general. The deliberate refusal to recognise, and the inability to deal with, unequal power.

raito said...

Tim Wolter,

Re: Voter Supression/Voter Fraud Prevention

First off, I'm more on the Supression than Fraud Supression side.

I do recall, but am too lazy to go find, examples of voter fraud in WI. Dave Shultz, a WI legislator until 2015, says his staff found 2, both GOP.

On the Supression side, there's the Voter ID law, which requires a state ID in order to vote. This was coupled with reduced hours and closings of the very places that issue such IDs. And the restrictions on voting dates and times and absentee ballots.

There's lots of people trying to bolster their own views on this, so the waters are indeed muddied. But it appears as though while the 2016 election turnout was less than 2012, it was up from 2008, so no trend. Some studies indicate that some people stayed home because they thought they didn't have the right ID, whether they did or not.

And that doesn't take into account the accounts during the spring campaigns of reports of telemarketing calls (falsley) saying that the Voter ID law was in effect.

But you already knew all that.

Personally, I think that we should make more effort to get more pepole to vote. One of the many raesons I'd make a poor politician. And because I'd feel that I'd also supposed to be representing the people wo didn't vote for me as much as the ones that did. Such an old-fashioned notion.

LarryHart,

I don't believe that gerrymandering has no effect in statewide elections, though I think it's effect is small and indirect. But not zero effect. If a voter considers the entirety of his choices, then having a consistent set of legislators/executives makes a difference. And I agree at least partially with Darrell E.

As I see it, a majority of political problems stem from the root cause that it's easier to game the rules than to play the game well by the current rules. Also a problem in other areas that impinge on politics.

LarryHart said...

raito:

I don't believe that gerrymandering has no effect in statewide elections, though I think it's effect is small and indirect. But not zero effect


To you and everyone else who brought up indirect effects, I agree, but my statement was made to Tacitus2 and specifically regarded direct effects. I conceded that gerrymandered congressional districts didn't cause Trump to win Wisconsin's EVs such that he would have lost them had the lines been in a different configuration. Rather than muddy the waters over that point, I elected to argue other points.

Paul451:

A post spasm. It goes on for awhile, but presumably I'll get tired and stop eventually...


Post away. I get tired of reading my own stuff. :)

LarryHart said...

raito:

As I see it, a majority of political problems stem from the root cause that it's easier to game the rules than to play the game well by the current rules. Also a problem in other areas that impinge on politics.


If that Bears touchdown catch from last Sunday can be called back, surely there was somw way of negating the rigged-and-fixed election result.

:)

LarryHart said...

The New York Times confirms what we already know. Facts that put Trump in a bad light have zero effect on his supporters and (all exceptions duly noted) on Republicans.

The entire article is worth a read.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/opinion/mueller-trump-supporters.html


On Monday, nothing changed. If you live, as I do, in the heart of Trump country, you know there is no chance that the indictment of Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, or the guilty plea of a former foreign policy adviser, George Papadopoulos, will alter our political dynamics. Mr. Trump’s supporters will stand by their man. After all, they’ve stood by him through worse, through events and allegations that implicate Mr. Trump himself.

It’s an unfortunate truth that the Republican base not only accepts but also often angrily defends conduct from Mr. Trump that they would never, ever accept in a Democratic president. Forget this week’s news for a moment and take a look at the recent past. Would Republicans have stood idly by if Barack Obama fired an F.B.I. director during an investigation of the president’s top aides and then misled Americans about the reason? Would conservatives tolerate a President Hillary Clinton demanding that praying football players keep their religion to themselves, then calling for firings and boycotts if they didn’t comply?

The interesting question isn’t whether so many Republicans are demonstrating a striking degree of hypocrisy, but why.
...
This phenomenon explains why reluctant Republicans would pull the lever for Mr. Trump even if he was their “last choice.” They were voting in perceived self-defense, and he fights hard against the people they dislike the most.
...

locumranch said...


George W spouts utter balderdash about how we live in "a land made of ideals, not blood and soil" and, quite suddenly, he becomes the poster child of Hogfather Progressivism, even though these so-called "ideals" like justice, love & mercy are non-existent abstractions that defy empiric measurement.

If you think otherwise, "THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY" (with apologies to Terry Pratchett).

Then, there's the usual screed about the IMMORALITY of Gerrymandering even though Gerrymandering is (1) Legal and (2) Just for the polity to exercise ongoing democratic control of the electoral process.

Yet, when it comes to the very antithesis of the democratic process, those autonomous self-perpetuating bureaucratic machineries unresponsive to democratic control (also known as the Deep State), we hear crickets.

For once automated, the self-perpetuating autonomous bureaucracy is sacred. It cannot be questioned, altered, redirected or unfunded as any further democratic input is now believed to be illegitimate.

We are told, over & over, that these Machineries of State (once created) must be allowed to grind ever onward toward their inevitable conclusion because they are 'The Law' that exists above-the-law.

Further input or correction is now termed 'undemocratic'; the young adult is now thought contractually bound by outdated agreements entered into by their great-great grandparents; the antiquated 'Will of the People' is now thought unalterable by the current 'Will of the People'; and nowhere were these Military-Industrial-Social machineries mentioned in the various western constitutions that once were subject to 'We the People'.

In California, Venice, Catalan & Kurdistan, the People WAKE and move to reclaim democracy in it's purest form via secession, and this is dismissed as Populism.

Beware, beware. If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like.

Best

donzelion said...

Paul451: "...the Republican party has created front-organisations that explicitly target likely-Dem voters for last minute challenges."
Indeed they have. It's objectionable, as is gerrymandering. But not fraudulent. At least, that is not yet proven.

There is evidence of fraud at a lower level, at the local party leadership level. Show me evidence of fraud at the Secty of State level (not mere allegations), and I'll take a look as will many others.

That's why I asked Dr. Brin for a cite re the lost Dem registrations in Florida or elsewhere as the cause of the 2000 (or other) electoral outcomes: I'm aware of allegations, and aware of the methodology of the folks who would have used that evidence if, upon close scrutiny, it proved out.

"Why must we hold our tongues so we don't offend the people committing the offence?"
I prefer to 'offend' the guilty by beating them. Holding our tongues until we can prove our claims helps make that happen. A premature allegation, without ample evidence to sustain it, will be beaten in any challenge by whoever has the larger bullhorn. In a war of mutual recriminations, they will continue to win.

But more important, in that war of mutual recriminations, a fair number of the innocent will be annoyed and apt to turn away: Clinton calls Trump a brute, Trump calls her a crook, and the frustrated innocent bystanders just want to tune out. We need them.

"Re: Michael Moore."
I don't hate him, any more than I hate Nader - both are right so often that their few persistent, stubborn errors are simply frustrating. Persisting stubbornly in error in the face of additional information hurts the causes they endorse. This ultimately, is why I keep coming back here - our host is also so often so very close to right on certain points that a few errors clung to stubbornly frustrate me. That makes me a persistently annoying contrarian, most critical of those I support - but at least my intentions aren't cynical.

matthew said...

Locum - "Beware, beware. If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like."
The process of questioning the legality of any law is called "The Law" and it is the heart of a career called "being a lawyer." "The Law" is one of those disputation arenas that the Doc wrote a book about. You may have heard of the CITOKATE term being used here. Challenging the legality of any law in a disputation arena (a "Court") is at the heart of our legal system.
Your not understanding of how this all works doesn't surprise me at all.

It's not the laws I like, it's the arena. Conservatives have turned to burning down the arena because they don't like the outcome when they try their fake facts in it.

matthew said...

I'm not ignoring my responsibility to Tim / Tacitus, but am very busy and much of what I intend to say has been said (with better style and logic than my own) upstream.

I'll fill in any gaps after my work responsibilities have died down in a couple of days.

locumranch said...


Thanks to Matthew for seconding my point by saying that "Challenging the legality of any law in a disputation arena (a "Court") is at the heart of our legal system".

What he refers to is also known as 'Legal Precedent' which exactly what I refer to when I say that "the antiquated 'Will of the People' is now thought unalterable by the current 'Will of the People'".

Of course, our Matthew assumes that those little gerrymandered bureaucratic niceties that regulate the legal "disputation arena" are sacred, unquestionable, unalterable and otherwise beyond democratic control, but they're not as they can & will be overturned when they no longer serve the interests of "We the People".

Culture Club was talking directly to you when they sang "I'll tumbrel for you".

Best

David Brin said...

Some due diligence: John Koziol has long been a commenter on my Facebook posts, so I know him to have long repeated Fox and even Alex-Jones type stuff. He’s polite though, even when I am rough with him. SO he is welcome here.

locum: “Just for the polity to exercise ongoing democratic control of the electoral process.” You $%$#%! It is for cheating. And you are a cheater. And you consort with cheaters.

It is a confederacy whose turn it is at bat, who change the rules so it now takes ten outs for the other team to get a turn. No 20 outs! No 100 outs! You confed cowards chose secession and Civil War in 1860 for one reason only, because the other team was getting to have its turn at the plate. Coward cheater.

“Beware, beware. If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like.”

So says a cultist whose cult fears politics. Well we don’t! If it’s fair, and we pay attention to facts, then we change and adjust laws! Even when the left was insane and pushed forced bussing, their biggest mistake, eventually they went along with abandoning the stupid thing.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

But more important, in that war of mutual recriminations, a fair number of the innocent will be annoyed and apt to turn away: Clinton calls Trump a brute, Trump calls her a crook, and the frustrated innocent bystanders just want to tune out. We need them.


So how does it help to not call out Trump while he continues to call her a crook? What does that silent majority do with that information? Most likely, they accept what Trump says because no one disputes it.

What does that gain us?

locumranch:

Beware, beware. If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like.


What, is that supposed to be a threat? The laws I like are already questioned ad nauseum. Obamacare? The Voting Rights Act? Roe vs Wade? You're not seriously asserting that right-wingers are constrained by laws they don't approve of until we liberals start complaining about their cheating, are you?

What am I saying? Of course you are.

matthew responds to loc:

It's not the laws I like, it's the arena. Conservatives have turned to burning down the arena because they don't like the outcome when they try their fake facts in it.


More than that, they do like the outcome when they win by a different set of rules than those liberals are expected to follow, and continually get away with it.

Let's take the example of Supreme Court Justice Merrick Garland. Ok, strictly speaking, no step in the process that shunted him aside for Pretender Gorsuch was illegal. But had Harry Reid played by the exact same rules that the Republicans did--scrapped the filibuster and shoved a liberal down their throats--most people in the "It's not cheating; it's not illegal; it's not fraud" camp would be fervently man-splaining to us about how the Democrats were undermining centuries of decorum and that they'd rue the day when the Republicans were again in the majority and would then do...well, exactly what the Republicans are doing now anyway.

Playing by the rules is only a good idea when the rules are the same for everybody. When the rules are "whatever the Republicans say they are, even the things that contradict the other things," then the only sensible strategy is to break them.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

locum...You $%$#%! It is for cheating. And you are a cheater. And you consort with cheaters.


Heh. Just when I think I've gone too far.


Coward cheater.


And liar. Don't forget my favorite.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin:

It is a confederacy whose turn it is at bat, who change the rules so it now takes ten outs for the other team to get a turn. No 20 outs! No 100 outs!


And that's where the sports metaphor breaks down. Because the team who is up to bat doesn't get to change the rules of baseball. Nor does the winner of the Super Bowl get to select the referees for next year. And no team has their own news outlet that always reports that they win and calls reports that they lost a game "fake news".

Zepp Jamieson said...

Hmmm. Secession can lead to Democracy, but it's not the way to bet. Few of the breakaway Russian republics have anything even close to a democracy, and most of the former colonies have democracy in name only.

donzelion said...

Locum: "Then, there's the usual screed about the IMMORALITY of Gerrymandering even though Gerrymandering is (1) Legal..."

That's actually quite a contentious point. CERTAIN gerrymandering may be legal; other forms are not (see Shaw v. Reno, or Baker v. Carr - this is an old fight, and one that is not over).

"when it comes to the very antithesis of the democratic process, those autonomous self-perpetuating bureaucratic machineries unresponsive to democratic control (also known as the Deep State), we hear crickets."

I do not hold our military (the largest and least democratic of all bureaucratic machineries by any measure) as 'sacred' - I respect professionals for the expertise they have acquired. So too with the intelligence fields, and the intelligentsia itself. Nobody on the Left seeks to permit any machinery to grind ever onward towards any sort of conclusion: criticism, evaluation, and justification have ever been the staples.

We tweak what we love because we love it, and want it to work better.

"If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like."
I am not afraid of questions. I am afraid of those who think they have all the answers.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"What, is that supposed to be a threat? The laws I like are already questioned ad nauseum. Obamacare? The Voting Rights Act? Roe vs Wade? You're not seriously asserting that right-wingers are constrained by laws they don't approve of until we liberals start complaining about their cheating, are you?" - Doctor Bin, trying to teach a pig to sing.

There's a fad in GOP statehouses to pass laws that "are not subject to court review" and "may not be repealed." Has to be one of the worst ideas in governance that I've ever seen. Even the best assemblies can and do pass laws that are mind-numbingly stupid. And given the level of corruption, especially in the GOP, there's a lot of feathering-the-nest laws these days, plus ones designed to render workers and consumers powerless.
Take the proposed tax reform bill: it will bankrupt the country and bring on a revolution, possibly within a decade. Would it be wise to make it a permanent and inalterable law?

matthew said...

I do not assume anything is sacred to the likes of loco - his cult has a long, storied history of "do as I say, not as I do."

I notice we are at the point where the sort of mass killings we associate with Rwanda are being pushed every day by loco's co-cultists. And loco, too, just a couple posts above.

Our host may be amused at your antics. His house, his rules. When you start making direct threats to me and mine, though...















LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

There's a fad in GOP statehouses to pass laws that "are not subject to court review" and "may not be repealed." Has to be one of the worst ideas in governance that I've ever seen.


The first thing I thought of was to wonder what would happen if a future legislature repealed such a law. Would we find out what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? I mean, who is to say for certain that the first law takes precedence?

The second thing I thought of was how many seconds it would take the USSC to get involved and rule such laws unconstitutional if a Democratic legislature ever passed such a law.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson (redux) :

laws that "are not subject to court review"


Is that even constitutional. The state constitution, I mean. If legislation, by its very nature is subject to court review, then the law saying it is not subject to court review doesn't make it so if the court strikes down that law (including the part that says the court can't strike it down).

I'm reminded now of the question of whether God can create a rock so big that He Himself can't lift it.

Were I a future Democratic legislator in one of those states, I'd pass a new law that White Christianists don't like--make abortion permanently legal, even at 40 weeks, or permanently outlaw religious symbols on public grounds, say--with the same anti-repeal protections. I'd even state it explicitly that the new law stands "as long as [older law] remains on the books." Force the party of cheating to themselves repeal a supposedly-irrevocable law.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart asked, quite reasonably, "Is that even constitutional. The state constitution, I mean."

I haven't heard of any court rulings on such laws, which isn't the same as no court rulings. If I was a lawyer, I might argue that such laws violate the right of the people to self-govern as they see fit, and to elect representative to enact such laws as are needful.

David Brin said...

“self-perpetuating bureaucratic machineries unresponsive to democratic control (also known as the Deep State)”

Prove it. I know a lot of these guys and they are dedicated public servants, who you insult because your plantation lord masters order you to. And because they were the last fact-people standing in the way of total oligarchic control.

Prove ONE of your cult’s malignant attacks on every single profession that actually knows stuff.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

If I was a lawyer, I might argue that such laws violate the right of the people to self-govern as they see fit, and to elect representative to enact such laws as are needful.


Isn't that a feature, not a bug?

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "So how does it help to not call out Trump while he continues to call her a crook?"

For the partisans, the mutual calling out will work to the benefit of whoever has the largest bullhorn: we ought to expect that to be the billionaires.

Someone, somewhere, needs to call out the frauds. But when Hillary or Obama did so, since she was already suspect, it failed to draw a larger group to her cause; when he did so, it only briefly drew a larger group to his own cause, which vanished after threat of national calamity receded.

The methodology I favor reflects why we're here in the first place: our host loved his stories, his characters, his vision, and his work in sciences and in literature far more than he hates even Trump - and THAT brought us together (even to occasionally bicker). That is the sort of methodology Democrats need to embrace (and backing anyone else who has demonstrated the depths of their devotion to something beyond their own ambition - e.g., colonels - is a prudent choice, though perhaps one may look more broadly for such evidence).

David Brin said...

"I would tell you that Robert E. Lee was an honorable man," Kelly said. "He was a man that gave up his country to fight for his state, which 150 years ago was more important than country. It was always loyalty to state first back in those days. Now it's different today. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had made them stand." -Kelly

Bull. That is often claimed and utterly false. Jefferson Davis himself administered the oath to cadets at West Point many times, and that oath was only to the United States of America. Only. Those cadets and all officers and all members of Congress made the same oath and historians can find almost no sign of similar oaths to individual states. There is no sign that Robert E. Lee ever swore an oath to Virginia, ever even once, but he did many times to the USA.

The pundits and historians answering Kelly... and the far worse SH Sanders ... all make good points. But why do none of the go to the core of the lie itself? http://www.cnn.com/.../john-kelly-historians.../index.html

LarryHart said...

John Yoo, W's torture lawyer, asserts that Trump has every right to pardon anyone involved with Russia, but cautions him not to do so for reasons that Trump doesn't care about at all:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/opinion/trump-pardon-manafort.html


Instead of attacking it at every turn, Mr. Trump should welcome the latest step in the Mueller investigation. Only by cooperating can he credibly prove his innocence.


Who new he had a sense of humor?

donzelion said...

Zepp/Larry: re "laws that are not subject to court review"

Laws that conflict with other laws tend to be subject to court review (more often, 'interpretation').

Certain laws can alter jurisdiction to put certain questions outside of the courts - and even then, courts will review laws altering their 'original jurisdiction' - but always on a case-by-case basis. (See Kerry v. Din's delicate treatment of 'non-reviewability' in 2015.)

On the topic of gerrymandering, at least one serious question is 'why must THIS law (setting the boundaries) be declared invalid?" Saying, "there's a better/fairer/more honest" way is not likely to suffice. What is needed is also some way to justify the claim that "THIS better/fairer/more honest way" is THE REQUIRED WAY. A stretch.

So it goes for every other attempt to set rules that cannot be reviewed: unless everyone agrees what the rules mean (a rarity), someone's gotta interpret it. Most often, folks aren't even aware of the contradictions until someone presents it clearly.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp and @donzelion,

I've read that in ancient Rome, some laws were passed which included provisions which made attempts by future Senators to repeal the law a crime punishable by death.

How long before today's Republicans try something like that?

Zepp Jamieson said...

> How long before today's Republicans try something like that?
I think they need one more seat on the SC. Then away they go, Hitler channels Caligula!

Zepp Jamieson said...

Donzelion wrote: "Saying, "there's a better/fairer/more honest" way is not likely to suffice. What is needed is also some way to justify the claim that "THIS better/fairer/more honest way" is THE REQUIRED WAY. A stretch."
Gerrymandering is like art: in the eye of the beholder. About the only thing you can do to minimise it is to have the lines drawn by a group as far removed from partisan politics as possible. Politicians should have no say in who gets to sit on the board, and their work has to be utterly transparent.
I'm told that Austin, Texas, which is a pretty liberal place, has five congressional districts within the city limits, but all radiate out into the suburbs and rural areas in order to maximize the influence of Austin's more right wing environs and dilute the liberalism of the city. Gerrymandering? Almost certainly.
Santa Barbara, a limousine liberal coastal town, once had a district that included two-thirds of the city, and then extended, via a 200 mile long, one inch wide line to Bakersfield, a much more conservative town in the valley. Gerrymandering? Definitely.

LarryHart said...

Good old Norman Goldman, calling for "a complete and total shutdown of the American government until our representatives can figured out what's going on."

Zepp Jamieson said...

"a complete and total shutdown of the American government until our representatives can figured out what's going on."

I read that three times.

Nope. Doesn't parse. Are you sure he was speaking English?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I think they need one more seat on the SC. Then away they go, Hitler channels Caligula!


I was thinking of state-level Republicans. :)

LarryHart said...

Sorry, "figure out." I think my PC types by itself.

Anyway, he was chanelling Trump's statement about banning Muslims.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart wrote: "I was thinking of state-level Republicans. :)"

So was I.

Kansas and Wisconsin are stellar examples of what happens with the GOP seizes power. So was California, but we threw off the chains.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I didn't even notice the typo! What Goldman says makes absolutely no sense. If government is totally shutdown, there are no Representatives to figure out what is going on.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp,

I can't tell if you're funnin' me or not.

Donald Trump once called for "a complete and total shutdown of all Muslims entering the country until our representatives can figure out what the hell is going on!" Norman is just channeling that back at him, given the notion that Trump is a foreign agent.

And he included "the hell", which I inadvertently left out the first time.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

So was California, but we threw off the chains.


A good example of what I said before about naked partisanism. California Republicans passed laws which required a super-majority to overturn. So in order to overturn those laws, voters had to elect a super-majority of non-Republicans, which in the real world means Democrats. That doesn't mean those voters are nakedly partisan for the Democratic Party. It just means they were only left one choice for opposing the other party.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"I can't tell if you're funnin' me or not."

I'm not, but I suspect I'm missing some context. Was Goldman mocking Trump when he said that?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I'm told that Austin, Texas, which is a pretty liberal place, has five congressional districts within the city limits, but all radiate out into the suburbs and rural areas in order to maximize the influence of Austin's more right wing environs and dilute the liberalism of the city.


I can personally verify that. My in-laws live in Austin, and what you say is exactly correct.

Furthermore, that gerrymandering wasn't even done at the usual time after a 10-year census. After the 2002 election, Tom DeLay was influential in getting the Texas legislature to redistrict right then and there. Democrats in the legislature fled the state for a time in order to deny them a quorum, but that was only a delaying tactic (no pun intended).

Duncan Cairncross said...

Gerrymandering

The other way is to have a system that makes Gerrymandering moot

We have Proportional Representation - you elect your representative AND a "Party vote" and any mismatch between total voter numbers and seats is made up with additional party seats
- We have a 5% threshold which is IMHO a BAD idea - but other than that it works quite well

There are other systems to do the same - the "First Past the Post" that the USA (and the UK) uses are NOT good systems

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Was Goldman mocking Trump when he said that?


Yes. Specifically his justification of the Muslim ban.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Yes. Specifically his justification of the Muslim ban."

Ah! Everything is illuminated! I tripped over Poe's Law, I did.

TCB said...

NorMan GoldMan is a very sharp guy. If he ever ever ever says something that sounds stupid, assume it's mockery.

donzelion said...

Zepp: I'm a fan of the California districting process since 2010. We've had messy districts and ugly battles on our maps for quite a while before that, but things have been fixed somewhat (Trump got 31% of the vote in California, Reps got just about 30% of the seats in our congressional delegation - roughly what you'd expect).

14 commissioners, 5 from each of the two largest parties, 4 not associated with either party. Nine commissioners must approve of any changes, including 3 from each party and 3 belonging to neither party (either party could veto a new map). The public can overturn the lines (in which case, the Supreme Court draws the new map). Compactness is required, as is (to the extent possible) preserving the integrity of cities, counties, neighborhoods, and 'communities of interest' (and those communities of interest must be consulted publicly before changes are made).

Dr. Charles Munger Jr. (a legit scientist, but most famous as the son of Warren Buffett's partner) and Arnold Schwarzenegger helped shepherd this process into place (earning eternal enmity from hard-right Reps in other states).

Excluding the parties from the process invites them to manipulate it from behind the scenes - doing it this way, they act openly, and if they overplay their hand, there are ample means of checking them. If California Dems played by Republican rules elsewhere, we might shift 2-3 more seats out of Republican hands (esp., Royce and Issa) - but instead, we do things the hard way.

Anonymous said...

One lesson to learn from this is that the US political system (NOT the Constitution or Bill of Rights) and specifically the voting system is not robust against ambitious men, the same way the Weimar republic was vulnerable to a power-mad monster like Hitler. I therefore advocate that we adopt the German method of voting. Do away with the electoral college. Each voter gets to choose their local state representative, and a party. Then the bundestang or house must be filled to reflect the proportionate representation of each political party. Thus, no single person or party could seize control. The German system was designed this way - it is time the Americans learned and adopted a better, more stable system.

Duncan Cairncross said...

the German method of voting.

Sounds just like the NZ method

BUT one party CAN "seize control" - they just need more than 50% of the votes and its not so much "seize" as just take control as usual

Jon S. said...

“Beware, beware. If the legality of Gerrymandering & the Electoral College can be questioned, then ANY & every law can and WILL be questioned, including the ones you like.”

Reminds me of a "threat" I've been seeing on Twitter, to the effect that we'll regret the Mueller investigation, because it might bring down "liberal" politicians too!

The folks posting these don't seem to understand when the "liberals" reply, "Good! Let's catch all the lawbreakers! We don't care whose team they're on!"

David Brin said...

onward

onward

J Aelia said...



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