Saturday, October 14, 2017

How they get away with this... and how we can thwart them

The fate of America – and the experiment in a Periclean civilization – should not come down to one man.  No, I am not talking about the President, but Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy who, with his eight colleagues, is pondering arguments for tearing down partisan gerrymandering.  

There are intimations that this time, Justice Kennedy may be ready to act against this ongoing rape of democracy. (That anyone could even mouth justifications for such a blatantly heinous and treasonous crime against American citizens should appall any decent mind, whatever their political leanings.) Certainly the plaintiffs have refined their arguments with much better facts and details… and I am told that my own contribution – a potential remedy that is simple, equitable and makes generous allowance for state sovereignty – has been put before one of the plaintiff attorneys. Well… 

… all of that is beside the point. My question is, how could it all teeter on one man? Specifically, what could possibly be going on in the minds of John Roberts and Samuel Alito? 

Unlike their conservative brothers, Gorsuch and Thomas, they weren't chosen in order to be partisan shills. We’re told they are genuine legal scholars whose loyalty to party is secondary. Roberts has even displayed a little independence, and fealty to logic, from time to time. So why is this matter even in doubt?  Can Alito and Roberts actually look in a mirror, siding with this travesty? This crime? Knowing that they'll consign the Republic – eventually – to no recourse other than revolution?

== The warriors resist calls for insane war ==

All the world's despots and fanatics want a U.S.- Iran war:  Trump would get a distraction from his troubles and GOP presidents love ordering troops forward, like pieces in a game. The Mullahs get an excuse to crush their own modernist population. The Saudis and Vladimir Putin get high oil prices and Russia will gain a new, Persian dependency under Kremlin "protection." And others will benefit, too! But not us. Not America or the West or civilization.

Note: under Obama, the U.S. became virtually energy independent. We have no further national interest maintaining a carrier group in that dangerous gulf. Prevent an Iranian bomb? Fine. Then sit back and let demographics seal the mullahs' fate.

And not sane/sober members of the U.S. military, who would be sent to fight it. "The nation’s top military leaders stated unequivocally that they believe the United States should stay in the Iran nuclear deal, staking out a position at odds with President Trump’s only days before he decides whether to certify that Tehran is in compliance with the deal."

God bless the United States Military Officer Corps - who have endorsed remaining in the Iran deal. The final fact-using profession to come under attack from the mad right, who will rue the day. "Deep State" my ass. They are heroes.

== The Union rises: some good news from the front ==

I have been hammering the point that Democrats would be fools to aim all their attention on the clown car craziness in the Executive and Legislative federal branches. At least as important will be races for state assembly and state senate, and the dems must get to recruiting appropriate candidates for those crucial races, right now. Elsewhere I’ve discussed:

(1) Where to find the best candidates for red districts. (And you might know someone appropriate! It is your duty to at least think about who you might help recruit.)


 And finally, the good news:

(3) Apparently there actually are some smart folks out there who have noticed. There have been under-reported results. “Of the 27 Republican-held state legislative seats that have come open in 2017 to date, Democrats have now flipped almost 30% of them -- a remarkable number in any circumstance but especially so when you consider the average Trump margin in these seats in 2016 was 19 points.”

“So, why aren't we hearing more about it? Because state legislative races aren't sexy. Because Democrats haven't been able to win one of the more high profile GOP-held House seats in a series of special elections so far this year.” Though in those congressional races Democrats overperformed -- by a large amount -- Hillary Clinton's 2016 showing in these congressional seats.

Want more good news? Despite the extraordinary challenges the world is facing – from growing economic inequality and climate change to mass migration and terrorism – “if you had to choose any moment in history in which to be born, you would choose right now. The world has never been healthier, or wealthier, or better educated or in many ways more tolerant or less violent,” former President Obama said at an event for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Now if you disagree with that assertion, you are welcome to compare statistics. (You’d lose.) But what’s interesting is the emotional response it elicits, from many on the left and almost everyone on the right – fuming rage -- that anyone would dare to say there’s reason for optimism, or that our efforts at reform for 80 years have born a lot of fruit. 

The gloom on the right is understandable – since every media outlet on that side, from Breitbart to Fox to elite “institutes” has a vested interest in destroying American and Western confidence in our open-egalitarian-democratic-entrepreneurial civilization.

But on the left, it is pure craziness – a fetish to save the world only through guilt trips and finger-wagging, never acknowledging that optimistic-confident people are more likely to take on challenges. This is the biggest factor distinguishing pragmatic liberals from ideological “leftists.” Liberals are willing to acknowledge that we’ve come a long way. And that the effectiveness of our past efforts should spur us onward to take on the vast challenges that remain.

== Okay then, a few are trying to get below superficials ==

On the World Post site, there is much wisdom on offer, but with an underlying layer of obstinate blindness: “…former U.S. President Bill Clinton, summed it: “We know from the human genome that all people are 99.5 percent the same. Some people seem to spend 99 percent of their time worrying about the .5 percent that is different. That is a big mistake. We should focus on what we have in common. And focus on what is common. We make better decisions in diverse societies than in homogenous ones. America’s great advantage is that we are an idea, not a place. We are not an ethnicity or a uniform culture.”

Clinton also warned of the dangers of the nativist narrative that has recently arisen: 
“We are playing Russian roulette with our biggest ticket to the future. Even if you believe we are headed toward the first big change since the industrial revolution with robots and digital technology that will kill more jobs than it creates, we are still going to need diversity. We are going to need creative cooperation. To do that we need some fair back and forth with others not like us. Resentment-based divisive politics is a mistake.” But, as the former president sees it, historical experience suggests it will all work out in the end: “This is just the latest chapter in the oldest drama of human history, us vs. them. But sooner or later we mix and move on.” 

All of that is wise and right and good.  But it misses the point about this resurgent confederacy.

Another article asks why Trump keeps on winning. Sure he accomplishes nothing at all, but gridlock and rigor mortis has always been the right’s principal goal. Demonstrating democracy's futility is the core and central aim of Putin's anti-western axis. So long as his opponents are stooopid - using sumo instead of judo - Trump and his master-backers will win.

Example: the inanity of thinking the alt-right is about racism! What stunning nonsense. Yet no liberal or democrat can see that "racism!" is a distraction, a tar-baby, meant to cling and grab all the attention away from the blatant, central confederate theme... hatred of the fact-using, expert castes.

Even the loudest, screeching white supremicist will vary his racism, getting all friendly with any minority reporter who gives him some attention.  I know this. My father, at age 70, drove to the Aryan Nations compound in Idaho and they fell all over themselves to show him around, posing for pictures to run in an ethnic newspaper. Yes, racism is horrifically part of their incantations! But it can vary.

No. What does not vary is their volcanic rage against smartypants. Experts. Name for me one profession of high knowledge and skill that’s not under attack by Fox/Trump &cohorts? Teachers, medical doctors, journalists, civil servants, law professionals, economists, skilled labor, professors… oh, yes and science. Thirty years ago, 40% of US scientists called themselves Republican, now it is 5% and plummeting. They are voting with their feet, the smartest, wisest, most logical and by far the most competitive humans our species ever produced. 

Yes, I said all this above. (I create these blogs sometimes by accretion, and similar rants can accumulate.) But I will reiterate until I see someone else in high place covering this ground!

The FBI and the US military and intelligence officer corps; all are dismissed as "deep state" enemies. Yes, this is not your daddy's conservatism.  When your screeches of hate are directed at every fact-profession... (have your confed uncle name one exception)... and every fact-checking service is automatically "politically biased" then three things are clear. 

(1) This phase of the confederacy is just like the old one. 
(2) If properly roused to awareness, the smart people (the Union side) will win again. 
And
(3) Hence it is vital to distract the smart folks from waking up! Distract them with racism when the real agenda is to discredit every fact-using profession and destroy their ability to thwart the confederacy's new plantation lords.

I keep waiting for some democrat or statesman or leader to make this the real issue, challenging the Murdochians:

“Every time facts and evidence are used to refute your lies, you attack the source as partisan. And so I demand right now that you tell us what kind of a neutral fact-checking service you would accept!  Would you agree to help form a commission of great American sages – including revered Republicans like Sandra Day O’Conner – who could help set up a truly neutral way Americans can confront rumors and lies?

“Not just one fact-service!  We don’t want a ‘Ministry of Truth.’ But a template for several competing but above-reproach services that can say about the worst trash: ‘that’s not true’.  We challenge you to help construct this solution! And if you refuse, we denounce that refusal as treason.”

 == From the Hannah Arendt Center ==

And yes, there are islands of sagacity:

We are experiencing a worldwide rebellion against liberal democracy. In Hungary, Russia, Turkey and other countries across Europe, right- and left-wing parties flirt with authoritarian rule. In the United States, President Donald J. Trump channels the voices of the self-described disenfranchised. Representative governments everywhere are shown to be corrupt, inefficient, and undemocratic. The great political achievement of the modern era - stable representative democracy - is everywhere under attack.

Hannah Arendt knew that democracy is tenuous. In 1970 she famously wrote:

"Representative government is in crisis today, partly because it has lost, in the course of time, all institutions that permitted the citizens' actual participation, and partly because it is now gravely affected by the disease from which the party system suffers: bureaucratization and the two parties' tendency to represent nobody except the party machines." 

Yes, but so?  We recovered from the collapse of American citizen confidence that raged during Vietnam and Watergate. We can surge back from this phase of the Civil War. Rise up.

-->

211 comments:

1 – 200 of 211   Newer›   Newest»
LarryHart said...

Dr Brin on the previous thread:

This Bill fellow… was he talking about Beck? Or me? Confused


Bill was responding about someone else who posted earlier on that thread. It wasn't Glenn Beck, but a blogger who goes by "Glen Filthie", who actually makes Treebeard sound civilized.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

My question is, how could it all teeter on one man? Specifically, what could possibly be going on in the minds of John Roberts and Samuel Alito?

Unlike their conservative brothers, Gorsuch and Thomas, they weren't chosen in order to be partisan shills.


What makes you say that? They both lied to congress about their intentions to be impartial umpires when W proposed them.

David Brin said...

Reiterating the Sam Houston quotation we can use to answer the Filthies, out there:

“Some of you laugh to scorn the idea of bloodshed as the result of secession, but let me tell you what is coming….Your fathers and husbands, your sons and brothers, will be herded at the point of the bayonet….You may after the sacrifice of countless millions of treasure and hundreds of thousands of lives, as a bare possibility, win Southern independence…but I doubt it. I tell you that, while I believe with you in the doctrine of state rights, the North is determined to preserve this Union. They are not a fiery, impulsive people as you are, for they live in colder climates. But when they begin to move in a given direction…they move with the steady momentum and perseverance of a mighty avalanche; and what I fear is, they will overwhelm the South. ”

Paul451 said...

"They both lied to congress about their intentions to be impartial umpires when W proposed them."

They were still pretending to pretend. But W and like minds in Congress knew what they were.

--

From the last thread:

Larry, quoting an article, quoting another article,
"might cause them to nominate a far-left candidate. Like, say, Bernie Sanders. This, in turn, could play right into the President's hands, as he runs a Nixon-style identity-politics campaign, and scores a landslide victory in 2020."

That's the thing, Sanders pointedly shrugged off "identity politics", while Clinton embraced it. So Clinton won the Primary, but lost the nation.

[The article points out that Trump barely won against someone who was disliked even by Democrats. But Sanders polls well amongst Republicans.]

Put simply, against someone like Trump, you can't afford to run a competent professional candidate like Jerry Brown. You need to a loud "outsider" populist.

By contrast, Nixon was a political operator. Running a lefty against him was foolish, because it ostracised the Dixicrats who were already pissed off about the whole civil rights thing; running an amateurish lefty was just stupid. Against Nixon, a Jerry Brown type candidate is a good acceptable choice, but a "hope and change" Obama type (hence Kennedy) is preferable.

If Trump gets impeached, I'd suggest Jerry Brown against Mike Pence. If Trump survives to 2020, then Sanders for the win. If Trump and Pence both get impeached, Warren would slaughter Ryan.

And in 2024 or 2028, Kamala Harris please.

--

Loco,
"Rules can CHANGE if "everything is permitted' "

Permitting "change" is not synonymous with "everything is permitted". Science changes, but it's clearly trying to ratchet towards understanding the underlying nature of reality. Change is assumed, no prior theory is sacred, nothing is "true", and yet there's a fixed goal and an obvious pattern of progress towards understanding.

Paul451 said...

Also from the last:

Donzelion,
"But if the problem is one of dumping, the solution is not to de-charter a corporation, liquidate it, or take it over (Wilsonian tactics that backfired) - the better solution is to force them to pay the price and disgorge the profits."

However, as you note in your next sentence, the tactic to get around that is to separate the blame-taking-entity from the profit-entity. Corporations aren't people, corporations are fungible, especially Delaware-type corporations. You can't punish a "corporation" unless the people behind it stand still for you.

To try to solve that, we create the kind of legal/regulatory complexity that the biggest oligarchs end up profiting by. And with the internationalisation of corporations over the decades, it's only gotten worse, when they can play nations against each other, when they can take their profits in Ireland and register their ships in Panama.

In Australia, we're currently see a renewed push to cut the corporate tax rate by over a third. The justification is that we've become "uncompetitive", and they show the recent trend of nearly every OECD country to slash its corporate tax rates. Presumably in each case, the same argument was made, "We're becoming uncompetitive". The result is a ratcheting down of every country. (And the bottom probably isn't even zero, it's subsidies for foreign investors.)

The weird thing is that we have "franking", where corporations receive tax credits for corporate taxes paid, which they dole out with dividends. So domestic investors, including institutional investors, generally don't pay any additional taxes on stock investments. (If your personal tax rate is low, you can even claim this back as a refund.) Foreign investors don't benefit from franking, since they don't pay local income taxes. But, reciprocally, local investors don't benefit from reducing corporate tax rates, since they'll just lose it again on their personal taxes. The whole debate is therefore about benefiting foreign buyers at the expense of locals. While some foreign investment is obviously good for the economy, that has turned into "Anything that increases foreign investment is an unalloyed good and must not be questioned."

It's like the Laffer Curve. It's perfectly reasonable to argue that there's an optimum tax level. But "believing in" the Laffer Curve results in people calling for ever lower taxes. The idea that you might be below optimal doesn't get considered, even though it's explicitly part of the Laffer thesis.

[Aside: Australia is amongst the lowest taxing nations in the OECD, as total tax revenue (all levels) vs GDP. About 5th lowest, just above the US on 4th lowest.]

[Aside 2: In the US, corporate tax as a share of Federal revenue has fallen from over 30% in the '50s to below 10% today. So the headline rate doesn't tell you the whole picture anyway. Payroll taxes (mostly SS) have replaced corporate taxes. (Obviously the overall Federal tax take has dropped as a share of GDP.)]

David Brin said...

Checking on the word "cloud" cloud for reasons some might recall...

locumranch said...


It is a sorry cuckold who asks questions without desiring an honest answer.

Q: How can the apparent fate of US liberal democracy rest on a single decision made by just one man like Justice Kennedy?
A: It cannot as any government that relies on a single decision maker is, by definition, an autocracy or tyranny.

http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

Q: What does the USA have to gain by endorsing the Iranian Deal or accepting any responsibility for Middle East Peace?
A: Absolutely nothing, so it follows that the USA should withdraw from the Iranian Deal & leave the Middle East to its own devices.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/12/dont-stop-at-iraq-why-the-us-should-withdraw-from-the-entire-persian-gulf/250389/

Q: Is the present the best time ever to be born if you had to choose any moment in human history in which to be born?
A: 30 years ago would have be better as US life expectancy appears to be in precipitous decline.

https://www.statnews.com/2017/07/31/decline-u-s-life-expectancy-deserves-local-national-attention/

Q: Why do US liberals & democrats accuse the alt-right of racism when it distracts from the alt-right confederate agenda?
A: The overuse of terms like 'racism', 'sexism' and 'denier' reveals the irrational quasi-religious belief system that lies at the heart of the progressive mentality, so much so that these terms (modern synonyms for 'heretic') have been used to destroy prominent "fact-using, expert caste" members like Tim Hunt & Matt Taylor.

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/nobel-laureate-sees-career-collapse-sexist-comments-article-1.2258310

Q: Why do some people spend their time worrying about human differences when we know from the human genome that all people are 99.5 percent the same?
A: Just peckish, I guess. The 96% genetic homology between humans & monkeys makes monkeys an Asian delicacy; the 98% genetic homology between humans & pigs correlates with porcine deliciousness; and a 99.5% genetic homology would seem to suggest an exceptional flavor profile.

http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2010/05/03/2887206.htm


It has been said that "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within", and therein lies the sad truth behind the so-called Confederate Uprisings at home & abroad:

Western Liberal Democracy has already fallen, although it has yet to realise its demise.



Best
_____
As Noble Laureates have been destroyed for much less, you may want to redact that "tar-baby" reference from your main post, asap, before you teammates call you 'heretic', too.

@Paul451: Those who assume progress as "a fixed goal" on a metaphorical journey "towards understanding" spout teleological drivel.

Duncan Cairncross said...

As an expat Brit I have been following the mess in the UK

I believe that this is Dr Brin's "Squirrel" - but on steroids

The right has identified a number of "Squirrels" that have major effects

In the USA the right learned to derail any discussions and cover up any wrongdoing by shouting “Hilary Emails”
And if that does not work accusing Bill of being a rapist

The right in the UK has discovered that the easiest way to trick the “left” into forming a circular firing squad is to accuse somebody of “Antisemitism” or even worse “Holocaust denial”

This has the desired effect - people start tearing each other to bits over small differences in opinion

I suspect this is because 90% of the people on the “left” do feel a little guilty about the fact that they do critisise the state of Israel and they do hold Israel to a higher standard of behavior than the surrounding countries

This is the main difference between the “Left” and the “Right”

People on the “Left” feel guilty about small and in many ways justifiable criticisms

People on the “Right” do not feel guilty about anything

MadLibrarian said...

Locum:

Q1: I refer you to the famous doggerel about the horseshoe nail, and also the 'butterfly effect'. One person or thing in a crucial time or place can have a disproportionate effect. This does not make the US a dictatorship, despite your cherrypicking.

Q2: The Iranian Deal is more of a carrot than a stick; would that we had the wisdom to pursue more of this type of deal, rather than getting into ill-considered disputes between Kim Jong Un and the Cheeto-In-Chief.

Q3: I looked into the New York Daily News; you really are citing a tabloid as a reputable news source? I'd almost rather cite BoingBoing. Ah well, busted clocks...

Q4: Since when are you a connoisseur of 'long pig'?

My back is cranky today, so my comments are likely also snippy.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Paul 451:
Jerry Brown will be 82 in 2020. Kamela Harris in 2024 sounds good; by then we'll have taken the measure of the woman and will have a good idea if she's suitable or not. (I'm betting she is).

LarryHart said...

Duncan Cairncross:

People on the “Left” feel guilty about small and in many ways justifiable criticisms

People on the “Right” do not feel guilty about anything


That must be why they're so certain that without belief in Hell, there is no morality. Because that's exactly the case for themselves.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Q: How can the apparent fate of US liberal democracy rest on a single decision made by just one man like Justice Kennedy?
A: It cannot as any government that relies on a single decision maker is, by definition, an autocracy or tyranny.


But Justice Kennedy doesn't have that power because it belongs to him alone. He has it because everything else is so precariously balanced around him. Likewise, the 2000 presidential election was decided by 537 votes in one state, but that doesn't mean those 537 people were some kind of oligarchy. It just meant it was that close to a tie.

Any 5 justices could conspire together to oppose any decision Kennedy makes. The reason he's the swing vote is because they won't want to do that. He's in the metaphorical condition of nine men chained together and sitting athwart a railroad track with a train bearing down on them. Four try to run left, while four try to run right, and none of them make any progress escaping until he decides which way to move. Any five of the rest of them could pick a direction and pull the rest along that way to safety, but no other five of them will agree on a direction. That's not the same thing, though, as a government designed to hand autocratic power to one man. You might even say, "that's a different thing, in fact the opposite thing."

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the previous comments:

Typically showing how some on the left are as zero-sum in their thinking as poor locum, Zepp said: “Yes, Democrats should continue to play it safe and stand for nothing, lest Republicans make fun of them.”


Zepp was responding to a post of mine, and he was being sarcastic. He meant that he thought the article I was quoting intended that interpretation. He wasn't advocating it himself.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

.. and every fact-checking service is automatically "politically biased" then three things are clear.

One more thing is clear--that reality has a liberal bias. Or to put it another way, the right wing has an unreal bias.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry: I'm afraid Doctor Brin's knee condition is acting up again.

Alfred Differ said...

I'm afraid Doctor Brin's knee condition is acting up again.

Yah. He did warn us, though. One-pass reading while attending a conference can leave anyone with a partial understanding of the flow of meaning after a lot of posts go by.

blah, blah, attention management, something-or-other... huh?

On a tangential note, I've started some gisting techniques on the shelfware I write at work.
I'm curious to see if any of the content sticks with people who ready it (maybe) once. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

I'd love to keep Kamela Harris around as our Senator for a little while. Please? Let her grow/mature a while. Besides, I like her feistiness. It serves us.


Oh man. Cheeto-In-Chief. I wish I'd thought of that. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch

Q: What does the USA have to gain by endorsing the Iranian Deal or accepting any responsibility for Middle East Peace?
A: Absolutely nothing, so it follows that the USA should withdraw from the Iranian Deal & leave the Middle East to its own devices.


That's got to be one of the stupider ideas floating around at the moment. US Isolationism had to die with the end of WWII. Western Europe would have been f*****d if we had pulled back. That is no longer the case, but our Pax would die if we did it now. You and your friends who advocate for this would be responsible for possibly a billion deaths before the century was out. So... No. You can all go %(&*% yourselves.


@Zepp

The Pax isn't dead until Locumranch's peers win the day... over my dead body.

Paul451 said...

Loco,
"Those who assume progress as "a fixed goal" on a metaphorical journey "towards understanding" spout teleological drivel."

And yet science works. Better at understanding reality than every teaching of "objective" religious truth handed down over all the previous millennia. Weird huh.

"It is a sorry cuckold..."

As I said, creeps like Loco always try to describe anyone not like them as emasculated. It's an attempt to create a culture of ostracisation, trying to emulate what they think are successful men. (You can always tell when Loco's gotten a burst of self-aggrandisement from wallowing in the cesspool of his favourite MGTOW sites. The terminology, the link-spasm, etc... "Cuckold" is one of their favourites, lost outside the bubble. Still, two can play at that game. "Creep" is one of the trigger-words within the bubble.)

"the USA should withdraw from the Iranian Deal & leave the Middle East to its own devices"

Boom, boom.

"as US life expectancy appears to be in precipitous decline."

"Precipitous". Poor thing must go into paroxysms on doorsteps.

It's interesting that other nations, you know those faggy Euros, etc, seem to be living longer than you Confederate warriors. Oh, and they achieve it with less health spending. Now there's a precipice.

Paul451 said...

(Bumped so I don't get marked for spam, unlike the actual spam.)

Funny that having a Republican state government is a predictor of lower life-expectancy in the US. (Although not as bad if you have a northern Republican government.)

It might relate to these: Changes in life expectancy for men and <a href="women according to income levels.

If your government impoverishes you, you die younger. So vote... Republican?

Paul451 said...

Try again:

"and women"

Paul451 said...

(bump)

Stumbled on an interesting demonstration of David's previous suggestion that we may not see much continued increase in life expectancy gains (compared to animal research) because we've already "plucked the low-hanging fruit".

Apparently as average life expectancy has increased, el-bracket-de-la-muerte has gotten narrower. We're hitting a hard stop.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

One-pass reading while attending a conference can leave anyone with a partial understanding of the flow of meaning after a lot of posts go by.

blah, blah, attention management, something-or-other... huh?


Happens to the best of us. I pretty much speed-read locumranch's posts these days, and even though I was arguing with him, I completely missed "religious objective moral code" until PaulSB pointed it out. What an oxymaroon!:)


On a tangential note, I've started some gisting techniques on the shelfware I write at work.
I'm curious to see if any of the content sticks with people who ready it (maybe) once. 8)


Not with typos like that it won't. :)


I'd love to keep Kamela Harris around as our Senator for a little while. Please? Let her grow/mature a while. Besides, I like her feistiness. It serves us.


I actually didn't want Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren to run for president last time for that very reason. We needed them more in the Senate. Having your best Senators all quit congress to run for President is almost as bad as the old European custom of having your best and strongest men kill each other in competition.


Oh man. Cheeto-In-Chief. I wish I'd thought of that. 8)


Radio host Stephanie Miller has been calling him Cheetolini since the debates.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

"It is a sorry cuckold..."

As I said, creeps like Loco always try to describe anyone not like them as emasculated.


In this particular case, it would seem (reading between the lines) he speaks from personal experience.

LarryHart said...

Paul451:

You can always tell when Loco's gotten a burst of self-aggrandisement from wallowing in the cesspool of his favourite MGTOW sites. The terminology, the link-spasm, etc...


By any chance, do they tend to use British/Canadian spelling and speak in Britishisms such as "feeling a bit peckish myself"? That would explain a lot.

Catfish N. Cod said...

There is definitely a "race to the bottom" going on in regulation & taxation. Some foolish libertarians applaud that, thinking it "freedom", when it is really just the substitution of regulation by democratic government with regulation by corporatocracy. Again, some foolish libertarians think that better, but it is merely a choice to subordinate to a new and more complex set of oaths of fealty.

The question of how Kennedy is not empowered by autocracy, but by the intransigence of every other part of the government and society. That is not an autocracy as it can be undone by any other part of the government. It may be a failure of democracy, though.

As for the Iranian Question, even having sufficient North American fossil fuel sources is not enough to protect our economy, especially when the refineries in Texas and Louisiana are vulnerable to weather. The way to get out of the Middle East is to end the world's dependence on oil. I understand that many Texans and Oklahomans find that inconvenient, but I have no interest in American boys and girls dying for such a narrow interest.

Israel is another story, but that is a narrower set of objectives. And therein lies the answer to your question, locum: the Iran deal is meant to give Israel another decade without an Israeli-Iranian nuclear arms race. Bibi Netanyahu may be all for gungho bombing campaigns but the Israeli military and intelligence community is adamantly against such foolishness.

Were we not all in one country and one planet together I could almost wish for the consequences of their decisions to be visited fully upon those supporting an isolationist United States. But such a thing was only ever possible because of the Royal Navy dominion over the seas from Trafalgar to Singapore. Once that was done and finished, it was either rule the waves ourselves, or let anyone wander up to our shores. Maybe someday we will have allies more able to tame the seas for commerce and peace with us. I have great long term hopes for India. Until then, withdrawal from the world would only invite attack. I had enough of that sort of talk from hyperidealistic peaceniks; I need no more of it from you.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred Differ wrote: "The Pax isn't dead until Locumranch's peers win the day... over my dead body."

Oh, you mean civilisation! Right. OK. Agreed.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Radio host Stephanie Miller has been calling him Cheetolini since the debates."

My own name for him for some time has been "Captain Pissmop". But my favourite comes from the morning after the Brexit vote, when Trump sent warm congratulations to the Scots for their vote for a free Britain. You can imagine the Scots' response. One of the kinder ones called him a Shitgibbon, and it stuck.

LarryHart said...

@Zepp Jamieson,

Stephanie Miller (no relation to the unfortunately-similarly named Stephen Miller) and her audience come up with the best dismissive name-calling. In earlier times, they'd be too juvenile for my tastes, but these are not ordinary times.

In addition to Cheetolini, they've come up with Twitler, Donny Doll-hands, SCROTUS (so-called ruler...), and many others I'm not thinking of just now. One of my favorite bits, not even specifically about Trump, was immediately after the failure of the Skinny Repeal--"Ding dong! The Mitch is dead."

But the most poignant came on the morning of January 20, when President Obama was still President Obama for just a few hours longer. They did a riff on the Four Seasons' song "Oh, won't you stay / Just a little bit longer" substituting

O-ba-ma, stay
Just a little bit longer.
Please, please, please,
Say that you will.

Oh, the voters won't mind
And the Union won't mind...


It absolutely broke my heart, which is kinda like tearing up at an SNL skit or a Colbert Report, but again, these are not ordinary times.

Paul SB said...

As a person who has more than two brain cells rubbing together for warmth in that cavity between the ears that so typifies the reactionary toads among us, I can understand why Dr. Brin focuses so much on the right wing war on brains. It's critically important, but we do have to note that it is a means to an end.

Spend a few minutes looking at the beautiful stained-glass windows of any church that is more than a few hundred years old. Those windows were a means to an end. It's not just that few people knew how to read, so few would be able to read the Bible and interpret it for themselves, literacy was actively discouraged by Western Civilization through most of history. If knowledge is power, than knowledge is something the powerful want to hoard for themselves and keep out of the hands of their structural inferiors. Gothic cathedrals are monuments to the hoarding of power in the form of information. All those flying buttresses were there to hold up taller canvasses upon which to paint the propaganda that kept the citizens on the bottom of the hierarchy.

But since Caxton it has been growing increasingly difficult for the elites of society to monopolize knowledge. In places like China and Iran despots try to contain the internet and keep a stranglehold on what people can know, but it gets harder with each generation. Here in the US the elites have had a much harder time suppressing knowledge, so they are left with the tactic of discrediting sources of knowledge. Ultimately the struggle is still about control. The Republican leadership is trying to pick winners and losers, and to do that they have to convince as much of the voting public as possible that their lies are the Truth, so they will vote for the personal agendas of those wealthy elites that make up the leadership.

Ultimately the right wing will fail, simply because the technology makes it increasingly difficult to keep the facts hidden. Alternative narratives to the "we deserve to be rich and powerful because we were born smarter than the rest of you" memes that are supported by actual facts threaten their control, so they cloud the waters, hurl baseless accusations, poison the wells, twist the words out of context any way they can and at any opportunity. They get louder and more blatant as time goes by because they are fighting a losing battle with reality. But as long as there are huge cadres of fools like our faux rancher, the sapling and their likely filthy alter-ego who will act as foot soldiers in their propaganda war, there is always opportunity for temporary reversals. If we cannot stop these, the bodies will mount. How many people did the CBO predict would die needlessly if the Grope manages to repeal the ACA? It's lives that are at stake, here, lots of lives.

LarryHart said...

Paul SB:

I can understand why Dr. Brin focuses so much on the right wing war on brains. It's critically important, but we do have to note that it is a means to an end.


Does anyone remember the tv miniseries (and not-as-good series that followed) called "V" in which a race of supposedly-benevolent aliens came to earth in an opening reminiscent of "Childhood's End", but (SPOILER ALERT!) they turned out to be reptilians in disguise who were actually here to steal our water?

The first thing they did was to foment suspicion of scientists.

Quite prophetic in its own way.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

You reminded me of a point I was going to make about encouraging or discouraging literacy (or anything else, for that matter). Civilization has its ways, some of which are more obvious than others, some of which might not even be intentional. Religious litmus tests are one of the more obvious. Demands for blind obedience and tying people's sense of worth to how well they obey is true of all the world's great religions, even Buddhism, which is more innocuous than most. Then there's the "fag test." Anyone who seems to be intelligent is almost automatically assumed to be gay, which has been considered a sin more dire than murder by almost all human civilizations (though not by civilization's more "primitive" progenitors)

The one I find most interesting, though, is the one that is probably most effective, yet seems to least intentional. An old Jimmy Hendrix line got me thinking about this recently, though I was aware of it even before college age.

White collar conservative flashin down the street, pointing that plastic finger at me, they all assume my kind will drop and die, but I'm gonna wave my freak flag high.
- Jimi Hendrix

Yes, it is about identity, but not the usual identity politics we hear about. Racism and sexism, while they are obviously terrible things, do serve to distract people from the very real theft that is going on. But think more about class. One of the propaganda points that the upper classes have always used to distinguish themselves from the "unwashed masses" has been the assertion of greater "natural" intelligence. Whether that was in the form of the old aristocratic concept of "breeding" or the more modern, scientistic claim of genetic determinism and Spencerian distortions of evolution that prop up the lie of meritocracy, either way the identities it creates make intelligence an identity ping-pong ball.

Have you ever heard African American people call each other the N word? They get awful mad if anyone else does, but they proudly label themselves with it. Likewise you might run into gay people who call themselves fags or bitches, but get mad gif straight people call them that. One of humanity's deepest psychological needs is for respect, which starts with self respect. If one dominant group in society constantly asserts their superiority over others, the natural reaction of those structural inferiors is not to crawl under rocks and hide their faces in shame, it's to find some other way to take pride in themselves and scorn those who scorn them. It reminds me of a story I heard once that said that Caucasian Americans pay a lot of attention to weight when looking at potential mates but not so much at race. African Americans, by way of contrast, aren't as concerned about weight as they are about race, which they take much more seriously.

It's very easy for a subaltern people to simply turn the standards on their head and decide that whatever their "superiors" value they will despise, and whatever their "superiors" despise they will value. The rich and powerful claim that they are naturally smart and that is why they deserve to be richer than Jesus, while the rest of us are stupid and deserve our poverty. It isn't too hard to see where this is going. Anti-intellectualism is the consequence, whether it is intended or not. People who aren't rich find other things to take pride in, like being "authentic" (as if drinking a 12-pack every Saturday night and beating their wives somehow makes them more "honest") and ridicule anyone who has a higher education.

Paul SB said...

Larry,

I remember being rather unimpressed by "V." It's been so long I don't really remember why, but it seemed rather cheesy to me at the time.

It's funny, though, that if a person is any kind of scholar they are ridiculed for being stupid and labeled "elite" - but if you look at the staff parking lots of any college around you don't see a lot of Mercedes, and when you do, they belong to the administrators, who rarely know anything about education but are business people. It's the business people who are the true elites of society, yet we cling to the antiquated notion that education is a thing of the rich, so anyone who is educated must be some rich, big shot professor or "elite" scientist. I don't see a whole lot of rich professors or scientists out there. It's also funny how people claim that you can't believe anything they say because they are just trying to get grant money, but if they were rich they wouldn't be so desperate to get grant money, would they? Most people seem to be unaware that 40% of their grant money is skimmed by the university, which means it goes to the administrators' Mercedes anyway.

Russell Osterlund said...

These people who keep pushing Bernie Sanders for President and don't acknowledge their role in creating our current hell will learn that some have long memories when 2020 arrives. And to those that claim I would then continue our national nightmare, I say: I see your current four years of hell and raise you another four.

Another nickname for Trump the Fake - the UnObama (with echoes of Unabomber).

Zepp Jamieson said...

How's the weather in Moscow today, "Russ"?

locumranch said...


Alfred dismisses US Isolationism by saying that "Western Europe would have been f*****d if we had pulled back", but also insists "That is no longer the case". So why not pull back from NATO now too? The EU would not notice today, claims Alfred. Plus, F*** the EU if the second part of Alfred's statement isn't true.

Zepp argues that Pax America equals 'civilisation', and such stupidity does not even merit an answer.

Paul451 displays his ignorance by attributing the 'Cuckold's Question' to the Modern MGTOW, when this question -- the question reluctantly asked & hopefully never answered -- features prominently in Chaucer & Boccaccio.

Those who fear the future -- like Zepp, Paul & our resident futurologist-- invariably insist that any change to the status quo will prove disastrous for all concerned, and those changes include everything from President Cheeto to the demise of Pax Americana to your political affiliation.

Que sera sera


Best

David Brin said...

Jeez Zepp. It is legit for Russell O. to ponder aloud whether division-splitting on the left should be discussed. Ted Kennedy weakened Carter and Nader unarguably sabotaged Al Gore. I think better of Bernie and have no objections to his behavior... though some of his romantic-poseur followers...

Twittler is good, Cheetolini, sure/ SCROTUS has its appeal, but only off-camera.

LarryHart said...

@Russel Osterlund,

I don't know if this is accurate or not, but you come across like a right-wing troll purposely trying to stir up dissent among progressives because four more years of hell is the goal. If that assessment is not correct, then understand I don't find extension of the Trump years to be a price worth paying for making some Bernie Bros sorry. And if it is correct, then nice try.

David Brin said...

"So why not pull back from NATO now too?" (1) The burden is on you to give us a "why" to trash a core tool PA used to keep the world's best-ever era of peace, freedom and prosperity.
(2) It's what Putin desperately wants. That along should heap a huge burden of proof on anything. Like our potemkin-Kremlin-puppet leader.

(3) You stunning, outright, bald-faced sell-out traitor.

donzelion said...

Paul451: "the tactic to get around that is to separate the blame-taking-entity from the profit-entity. Corporations aren't people, corporations are fungible, especially Delaware-type corporations. You can't punish a "corporation" unless the people behind it stand still for you."

Corporations ARE 'people' - they can own property, sue and be sued, enter into contracts, etc. You CAN punish the corporation without piercing to the people behind it. Indeed, too much depends on this being possible for it to be shrugged aside blithely.

Corporations are the secret of how feudalism was reined in - why the English Parliament could afford guns to overthrow the king (and why a middle class emerged in each state where it actually did emerge). Collectivizing through a cooperative/competitive entity that was 'immortal' has made so much possible, for good and ill (but so much good!).

A Spanish king could own mountains of silver yet still go 'bankrupt' on a whim. Yet through corporations, mere city-states could take on empires - simply by owing debts and repaying them, making them 'safer' bets than feudal lords. This simple change made professional armies (and guns themselves) possible - made most 'professionals' themselves possible (freeing them of dependence on a lord's patronage) - too much depends on a system that originated from a concept for it to be blithely shrugged aside.

Wilson's error was taking seriously the lousy parent's proclamation, 'I brought you into the world, I can take you out of it!' As is that lets you do anything to the child...

Roosevelt took a much more pragmatic approach (and was able to completely alter the federal context he lived in to make that possible) - we regulate the effects, not the intentions. The solution to tax cheats and other objects of criticism is similarly to adapt the 'old approach' (harmonized rules) to new challenges - not to abolish the rules (or the corporations themselves).

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Zepp argues that Pax America equals 'civilisation', and such stupidity does not even merit an answer."
Tch. And here I have Doctor Brin mad at me because I deny that American Pax actually exists. At least I do believe in civilisation, and agree with Brin that your answer ain't it.
I'm glad to hear that you refuse to dignify remarks I have not made with a response. Gives me a wee bit of hope for your sanity.

donzelion said...

"All the world's despots and fanatics want a U.S.- Iran war:

They want 'war talk' to move markets (and occasionally, public opinions) their preferred way. They don't want war, and each of them knows that of the others.

Paul SB said...

The only people who want the status quo are those who benefit from it - those who are already rich and powerful. People on both sides of the divide want to change the status quo, they have different visions for how they want it to change - their side wins and vanquishes the other forever and ever, generally - but status quo is not on the agendas of too many people out there.

Zepp Jamieson said...

" It is legit for Russell O. to ponder aloud whether division-splitting on the left should be discussed."

Oh, he has the right. But I've seen the same silly premise in other places including a lot of sources that hailed from Russia. Sanders caused Hillary's defeat? What utter nonsense! And his nym, "Russell Osterlund" is suggestive. Russ Eastern Land?

If he engages me, or at least responds, I'll assume the acccount is legit and not just a Russian troll.

locumranch said...


For your consideration:

(1) The 'New Conservatives' & Nationalists win in Austria [http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41627586];

(2) Those who use the term "tar-baby" shouldn't call other people names; and

(3) The term 'traitor' implies that US citizens owe the EU and NATO service & fealty AND I most certainly do not.


Best

David Brin said...

donzelion always amazes me: “They want 'war talk' to move markets (and occasionally, public opinions) their preferred way. They don't want war, and each of them knows that of the others.”

You ASSERT this! Yet, you do not address the ways in which every party that I named will benefit maximally from war and only from hot war. It is the way to skyrocket oil prices for Putin and the Saudis. To give DT a mega distraction and let him preen as commander-in-chief. It lets the mullahs crush their modernists. And Iran comes out just fine, because Putin will just extend his umbrella and order the war to stop… after the Iranian oil export facilities are torched.

SHOW us how even one of these is untrue. Assertions like yours pale next to self-interest and they all want this.

David Brin said...

Zepp while we need to keep in mind there are many “russian” entities out there, many of us have names derived from places of ancestral origin. Oh son of Jamie.

locum, you are deliberately selling out your own country - which has led and benefited from NATO - and you support every policy that will weaken us.

You flounce all the foxite catechisms about how the Kremlin can be trusted NOW that they switched superficial religions from socialism to Russian-Orthodox Czarism and mafia structure. The KGB changed its name! Ignore everything Putin says about "democracy always fails" and "Americans are decadent and must be brought down."

Hell yes, you are an outright, deliberate and vigorous traitor.

Ioan said...

locumarch already pointed it out, but

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/austria-election-kurz_us_59e35e48e4b0a52aca188468?ncid=inblnkushpmg00000009

What's interesting is that the alt-right there is tied for second at 26% of the vote. Likewise, that guy only won because he had to move rightward.

Russell Osterlund said...

@Zepp Jamieson:

Check your etymological resources before trying to decipher a name. Russell is from Old French; and Osterlund is Swedish. Also, "Rus" was the ancient name for Russia.

As far as blaming Sanders solely for Clinton's defeat, there were many reasons for that. Any intelligent person that could not see the vast differences between the two candidates and that could not see how the UnObama would lead the country down the toilet deserves the hell they have created by not whole-heartedly supporting Clinton. As far as trying to split the progressives with my statement, these "progressives" should stop whipping a defeated candidate and look for ways to pacify those who are still bitter after the loss.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

(1) The 'New Conservatives' & Nationalists win in Austria


In Austria? Not surprising.


(2) Those who use the term "tar-baby" shouldn't call other people names


He didn't call anyone a "tar baby".


(3) The term 'traitor' implies that US citizens owe the EU and NATO service & fealty


No, the term "traitor" implies that US citizens owe the US allegiance.


AND I most certainly do not.


Finally, a true statement. :)

LarryHart said...

Russel Osterlund:

Any intelligent person that could not see the vast differences between the two candidates and that could not see how the UnObama would lead the country down the toilet deserves the hell they have created by not whole-heartedly supporting Clinton.


And if there was a way for them and only them to live in that hell, I'd agree with you. But although they deserve it, the rest of us don't. And I'm unwilling to say, "Well, my family and I are suffering through this, but at least some Bernie Bros are also suffering." The one is not sufficient remuneration for the other.


As far as trying to split the progressives with my statement, these "progressives" should stop whipping a defeated candidate and look for ways to pacify those who are still bitter after the loss.


Well, that sounds almost opposite to how I read your statement the first time, which I could paraphrase as, "In 2016, we ran an establishment Democrat and the Bernie Bros wouldn't support her. So in 2020, if they run a Sanders/Warren type progressive Democrat, we won't support them this time. And if that means more Trump and more Republicans, well, now they'll be sorry!"

If what you really meant was a different thing, in fact the opposite thing, then (in the words of Emily Litella) never mind.

Jon S. said...

Sanders was not, so far as I can tell, responsible for Clinton's defeat - as I recall, after losing the primaries, he started campaigning for her. The "Bernie Bros", however, the ones who seized Sanders' candidacy at least as much because it was the fashion as because of any political beliefs they might have had, did act as a spoiler; the number who publicly proclaimed they were either sitting out the election or protest-voting for Jill Stein was greater than Donnie's margin of victory in many of the states he "won".

"Does anyone remember the tv miniseries (and not-as-good series that followed) called "V" in which a race of supposedly-benevolent aliens came to earth in an opening reminiscent of "Childhood's End", but (SPOILER ALERT!) they turned out to be reptilians in disguise who were actually here to steal our water?"

Then that turned out to be Level 2 of their misdirection protocol; just before the old series went off the air back in the '80s, we found out that the people who went into their factories were disappearing not because they were being punished, but because the Visitors were real humanitarians (if a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?).

Zepp Jamieson said...

Fair enough. Names are names and have their own background, and nyms are nyms and often puns.

Now, as for Saunders. He wasn't the "UnObama" but he was the UnThirdWay Democrat. The party does have a large and vigorous left wing, and it is heartily sick and tired of the slow surrender of weak corporate centrism which Obama and the Clintons represent. Sanders didn't create this movement: it's what used to be the base of the Democratic Party before the corporations took over.

He gave his word that he would fully support the nominee, and he did. It's not his fault that Hillary blew him off, and by doing so, alienated a large chunk the the Democratic base. You might want to ask yourself why some 100,000 Sanders voters decided that a psychotic, narcissistic swindler could address their concerns in a way Clinton couldn't. I may consider those voters (and nearly all Trump voters, for all of that) utter morons and or gullible beyond belief, but the fact is Hillary just didn't reach voters in the regions where Hillary beat her in the primaries. She failed to notice that warning sign, and that's why she lost.

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Oh son of Jamie."

Yup, out of Clan Gunn, which is ironic, given my attitude toward the NRA. Osterlund did return, and says it's his name, and I'm quite prepared to accept that. But as the ancient joke has it, "On the internet nobody knows you're a dog." Someone could log on here under the account name of "Son of Jamie" and profess great love and admiration for Trump.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Then that turned out to be Level 2 of their misdirection protocol; just before the old series went off the air back in the '80s, we found out that the people who went into their factories were disappearing not because they were being punished, but because the Visitors were real humanitarians (if a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?).


The writing was very inconsistent once the miniseries was extended into an ongoing series. IIRC, half of the original cast was gone by Christmas. And they almost forgot about the fact that the aliens were disguised reptiles and treated them as humaniform all of the time, because y'know, the audience is stupid.

Point being, I don't remember or care what was "established" by the end. My recollections are limited to the original two miniseries which told a complete story.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

He [Bernie] gave his word that he would fully support the nominee, and he did.


Yeah, Norman Goldman used to have fun with the Bernie Bros who would call in and rant that, essentially, Bernie wasn't Bernie enough for them.

Zepp Jamieson said...

“They want 'war talk' to move markets"

Did Donzelion really say that? If so, it's an absurd premise. Contrary to popular belief, war is actually quite bad for businesses (out side of those supplying materials and supplies directly and sometimes not even then) and a major widespread war destroys trade, Yes, there was a "war boom" during WW2, but the country has been essentially on a war footing ever since, and so that phenomenon won't recur.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart said, "Norman Goldman used to have fun with the Bernie Bros who would call in and rant that, essentially, Bernie wasn't Bernie enough for them."

Yeah, I encountered the phenomenon fairly often on CIF, on the Guardian during the general campaign. Brays that they were going to stay home rather than vote for Hillary were countered that this amounted to a vote for Trump, and Hillary, no matter what her flaws, was far better suited fro the job than Trump. It was easy to tell the Bernie supporters, who urged them not to do that, from the Hillary supporters, who would hate on Sanders instead, thus increasing the gap between the two sides of the party. At least some of them were Russian bad actors who WANTED that splid, which is why I reacted to Osterman the way I did. But some centrist Democrats really are that politically blind, thinking it's a good idea to piss on the only allies they have.

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH: The writing was very inconsistent once the miniseries was extended into an ongoing series. IIRC, half of the original cast was gone by Christmas. And they almost forgot about the fact that the aliens were disguised reptiles and treated them as humaniform all of the time, because y'know, the audience is stupid.

I tried watching both the original series, and got bored by about episode six in both. Neither were done very well.

At the risk of blowing up Doctor Brin's board (and if he rapidly moves to quash this branch for another time I won't be offended) I find myself warming to Star Trek Discovery. It's not even close to the Spirit of the original show (Seth Richardson's "The Orville", oddly, is) and the writing can be pretty bad (especially that dire first episode!) but while it's not ST, it IS pretty decent SF. It may yet implode, but for now I'll keep watch.

PS: Patrick Stewart and Scott Bakula are both supposed to appear in The Orville this season.

Paul451 said...

Russell,
"deserves the hell they have created by not whole-heartedly supporting Clinton."

Doesn't that same reasoning condemn those who supported Clinton over Sanders? "Let's pick one of the most hated candidates in political history instead of someone who then and still ranks highly with independents and working-class conservatives."

Once Clinton had the nomination, I told people on the left to vote for her and take out their protest-votes by focusing down-ticket. But during the primaries, it's people like you who betrayed your nation by deliberately choosing the least electable person.

You might not be a paid Russian shill or right-wing trollolol, but the fact that you sound like someone trying to undermine and disunite the opposition to Trump should give you pause for thought. It won't. Obviously. But it should.

--

Donzelion,
Re: Corporations as "people", and their value to us.

There's a quote I came across recently which seems apropos, but I can't remember the source so I can't look up the exact words. Essentially: "Philosophies initially attack errors, but, when left to operate for long enough, will inevitably come to attack truths".

So too business structures, conceived to aid civilisation, if left to their own devices for too long, come to attack it.

You defend the concept of the corporation, by talking about the theoretical purpose and advantages, which are not my objection. My issue is with business as she is actually done, how those who created the mess continue to push the same dangerous assumptions to greater extremes; and how many people who object to the mess are still blinded by those same assumptions, simply because they don't want to be seen throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

For eg, we won't see a strong objection to lowering corporate tax rates in Australia from anyone outside the fringe left, because everyone who sees themselves (who wants to be seen) as moderate and reasonable accepts the notion that foreign investment is a good thing, and therefore is able to be blinded into accepting that more foreign investment is always a good thing. The only philosophical differences in evidence between the good-guys and the bad-guys is the good-guys' occasional hand-wringing "We just have to make sure we take care of the losers of this inevitable change."

You do the same thing, you believe that corporations (and by extension modern corporate business practices) are essentially a good thing, we just have to work together to try to reign in the excesses and the negatives. I'm saying that it's reached the point where we need a change as radical as the invention of "incorporation" itself. And we won't get there as long as we can't talk about how the current model has not just failed in practice, but failed in concept.

donzelion said...

"All the world's despots and fanatics want a U.S.- Iran war:

They want 'war talk' to move markets (and occasionally, public opinions) their preferred way. They don't want war, and each of them knows that of the others. Easy to boast about wartime prowess when everyone knows no one actually wants to fight.

Note who is financing Aramco's imminent IPO. Levered properly, each time Trump rattles a saber adds a bit more to their fortunes - BUT if actual shooting starts, they could well lose everything (unless their money is entirely focused on alternative energy sources...).

Paul451 said...

Speaking of being "left to their own devices":

Did no-one get my pun yesteday?

{sigh}

--

Re: V

IIRC, by the time it was cancelled, the series was revolving around an alien/human hybrid who had magic powers... or something.

And the reboot took the alien/human hybrid as their secret-motive. The new version of the aliens were the result of millennia of genetic engineering, they invaded worlds, harvested useful genes to integrate into the next generation, then consumed the resources of the world in order to spread to the next. 'Twas an interest premise, but badly written and poorly executed.

--

Re: Tar-baby.

People think it's racist because the people who think it's racist saw racists using Uncle Remus language decade after decade to mock black people. People think it's racist because the people who think it's racist have been called hundreds of similar names by racists who constantly invent new whistle-words to hide behind -- "Urban", "ethnic", etc -- and then delight in trolling people, "What? How is saying "urban" racist? -smirk- -mockoutrage-"

Assuming someone is doing the thing that they always do, is not a radical notion.

Assuming one person is being racist when using a term, but a second person isn't, is not a double standard. It's a single standard.

Paul451 said...

David,
Re: Iran.

Renewed sanctions on Iran and the mere threat of war would also raise oil prices while potentially reducing Iran's financial capacity to influence outside its borders.

That doesn't mean that the Bannon-types, or the Dominionists, aren't clamouring for actual war. At some point you have to take the monsters at their word. It's just that the Putin-type manipulators, and the Saudi oil princes, don't necessarily want full-blown American boots-on-the-ground war.

Putin would be happy with anything from Trumpist sabre-rattling up to a major US missile strike against Iranian facilities. But anything beyond that risks that his own interests will start to be harmed. There are strong ties between the money laundering schemes of the Russian oligarchs and money laundering schemes of the Iranian Republican Guard's commanders. Putin's allies no doubt skim their cut as they steer business towards their preferred operators throughout the region. Limited US action reinforces those Iranian generals, keeps the money flowing; major US action risks cutting off the flow of funds for up to a decade. (Iran's conventional armed forces would fall within days of full US war. No more billions needing to be laundered.)

The Saudis, in practice, wouldn't want even limited US military action. They want Iran financially restricted, of course, but they benefit from political chaos within Iran, not the chaos that strengthens the hold of the Imams; nor the utter chaos of societal collapse and insurgency that risks spreading more extremists in their own backyard. Containment, not shattering.

--

Aside: Iran is a good example of how stupid the Rep leadership are. If the war-drummers in the US actually wanted to undermine Iran, they wouldn't be sabre-rattling since (as David notes) that just strengthens the hold of the hardliners in Iran. The more the US shouts at them, like a drunk on the subway, the easier their hold on power. If they wanted to hurt the regime, they would be listening to Putin's hatred of Clinton and the State Dept over their "operations of influence" in Ukraine and eastern Europe, they would be asking those guys how to replicate the downfall of pro-Putin governments in Iran. Even if it doesn't end the current regime, weakening it internally would "punish" Iran far more effectively than any threat of war possibly could.

So if they are pointedly attacking that same State Dept, and especially anything touched by the Clinton, whose interests are they serving? Whose hatred are they repeating?

--

And on that idea, a related thought on the Soros hatred promoted by the paid rightwing commentariat on News Corp/Breitbart/etc: Why so much venom for Soros? He supports liberal causes, yes he's Jewish, but why fixate on the one person? He "brought down six governments" in eastern Europe. As David has repeatedly noted, they were six communist governments. Shouldn't the right be singing his praises, building him statues, and especially (given the US's own record of regime change) asking him "How did you do that?" (He's also a self-aggrandising narcissist, but you work for Fox. Self-aggrandising narcissism is your happy place.)

Who would have been angry about Soros' actions at the time? Angry enough to still hold a grudge? Loyal servants of the Soviet empire. People who saw their empire weaken and decline and contract just as they themselves were coming into power. People like KGB officer Putin.

So when I look at the Soros hatred, I'm wondering just how long people like Putin have influenced the thinking of the US right.

locumranch said...


Liberal Democracy is dead because, according to David, the polity no longer deserves the opportunity to voice its own preferences, vote its own conscience, elect its own leaders or choose its own destiny. Our Anti-Democratic David tells us that the polity has NO right to --

(1) Elect a Giant Egotistical Cheeto as their President, the why being that only an elite cadre of EXPERTS possess the wherewithal to make 'a truly democratic choice'.

(2) Withdraw from an archaic military compact called 'NATO', formed in 1949, because of various REASONS that may shame our ancestors.

(3) Restrict, regulate or enforce preexisting immigration law because 'blah blah blah' the deplorably racist polity do NOT deserve actual political representation in accordance with their various constitutions.

(4) Secede from a much larger organisation, like the EU or the US, which the polity was 'born into", on an involuntary basis, even though that organisation has willfully ignored the will of the polity as in the case of Catalan & various Red States.

(5) Have an opinion that differs from that of the fact-using expert elite establishment.

Otherwise, he will don his Union Kepi, resort to military force, forcibly subjugate 'We the People', install a totalitarian cabal of lickspittles that believe as he does & call you an "outright, deliberate and vigorous traitor" for believing in the principles of Liberal Democracy.

Best

Russell Osterlund said...

As I said, 'Long memories." If the left-wing progressives think they can win any election without us "centrists", well, have a nice life...

People need to stop spouting "wisdom" on the election's outcome they found on the back of a matchbook and read a book like "The Destruction of Hillary Clinton" by Susan Bordo. Perhaps then, they might understand the depth of disappointment and start the real process of uniting and opposing the UnObama. My comments are directed at those who proudly proclaimed they held their noses and voted for Clinton.

As far as my wishing an additional 4 years of this nightmare, my curse is on those who cited the historic levels of negativity for both candidates as their excuse for whitewashing the causes of the defeat. I quote: "A pox on both your houses."

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

“They want 'war talk' to move markets"

Did Donzelion really say that? If so, it's an absurd premise. Contrary to popular belief, war is actually quite bad for businesses (out side of those supplying materials and supplies directly and sometimes not even then) and a major widespread war destroys trade,


Sometimes, destroying trade is the point. The flowing of Iranian oil lowers the price of Russian and Saudi (and Texas) oil. An interruption in the flow of oil from Iran onto the world market would be bad for business, but good for those businesses.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Larry Hart: "The flowing of Iranian oil lowers the price of Russian and Saudi (and Texas) oil. An interruption in the flow of oil from Iran onto the world market would be bad for business, but good for those businesses."

An excellent point, and it explains why Saudi Arabia is pushing so hard for war. Russia has different fish to fry; they have a largely captive market for their oil, and have a deep interest in unfettered access to the southern sea ports of Iran. There's an excellence chance that in the event of a direct American attack on Iran, they may come in on the Iranian side.

LarryHart said...

Russel Osterland:

As far as my wishing an additional 4 years of this nightmare, my curse is on those who cited the historic levels of negativity for both candidates as their excuse for whitewashing the causes of the defeat. I quote: "A pox on both your houses."


You're shouting that to houses directly adjacent to your own, as if the pox will magically miss yours in between. Good luck with that. If we have to wade through eight years of Trump, at least your life will suck too, and that's something.

@locumranch,

Americans self-evidently do have the right to elect an idiot as president. That doesn't make doing so a good idea, and American ideals don't constrain people with working eyes, ears, and brains from saying so. If that makes you feel bad, well, this isn't your safe space, snowflake!

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

(5) Have an opinion that differs from that of the fact-using expert elite establishment.


Do you even listen to yourself any more?

"I don't believe in gravity. Scientists who tell me that the hammer I let go of will fall on my foot and hurt are persecuting me for not agreeing with them. Ouch! How did that happen?"

Knock yourself out. But don't expect fact-believers to give you more than a cursory skim. What's the point?

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp | Oh, you mean civilisation! Right. OK. Agreed.

Well... It's a start. 8)

You are missing the whale that landed on the beach, though. This civilization is very different and America's approach to growing it is wildly different than every previous civilization. Cultures that start one are generally in their barbaric youth. We didn't start this one, but we DID pick it up and run with it as the previous barbarians in Europe matured. Some day, we will too, but before we do, the world will change utterly.

Paul SB said

it has been growing increasingly difficult for the elites of society to monopolize knowledge

and then went on to

Ultimately the right wing will fail, simply because the technology makes it increasingly difficult to keep the facts hidden.

Yep. How barbaric of us to turn a weapon of war (internetwork as a Cold War Command & Control structure) into something the world's despots (including our local ones) are struggling to resist. This particular tool is an excellent example, however, of how our Pax isn't about what our government does. Who among us turned the internetwork outward? Who did Al Gore free from regulation? It started with the knowledge caste at the universities who knew darn well what it meant to be able to talk to each other freely. Recall our three-way alliance born of WWII involving government, universities, and corporate America. Big companies served both directions until the students stole the whole shebang from them and further freed it. Obviously, it didn't stay American, but that is also the behavior of barbarians. Bwa-ha-ha! They even stole the encryption algorithms and took them beyond the reach of patents. 8)

Our Pax exists because We The People wish it so. Wars rarely benefit us unless we cause them under conditions of our choosing. So all the rest of you... just stop. We will make it worth your while. You'll love us for it and bear our babies. Heh. Okay. Some of you don't like that, but we don't really care. Just trade with us. Don't mind the sharks. They aren't all Americans.

Civilizations don't have to be peaceful. History shows they typically aren't for the people forming them. Once your small tribe has been overrun and is paying tribute properly, though, it isn't so bad. The famines don't happen as often. In ours, though, the famines are mostly history and the people who trade closest with us haven't seen a war in a damn long time. That isn't 'not so bad.' That's awful damn good by historical standards.

We do it by trading.
We also do it by gifting knowledge to those who would be upset at those who do not willingly trade with us.
Very barbaric, hmm?
Even the ancient civilization of China (the only one surviving from antiquity) has succumbed.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | Western Europe would manage well enough. Eastern Europe not so much. It isn't clear we would jump to their defense if Russia expands its usual buffer region. That ambiguity partially serves us, but also creates the potential for mistakes and miscalculations on the Russian side. Returning to isolationism would end that ambiguity and serve only the Russians. We would save little in the short run and spend a lot of blood later.

Why we care is because the only thing we have to do now to preserve our place at the top of the world is prevent a hegemony from forming across Northern Europe. China isn't a viable, long range threat. No one is... except an alliance across northern Europe. Fortunately, many of them don't like like each other enough for that to happen, but each of our three big 20th century wars were about preventing exactly that situation. We want them peaceful because they actually ARE powerful, but we don't want them cooperating so much that they don't need us. It is in our interests to balance them off against each other like our 50 states are supposed to do at the federal level.

We should stay in NATO and play nice... while simultaneously establishing a regional alliance of nations along the current border of the Russian sphere of influence. These alliances can overlap and probably should. After all, our next big beef with Russia won't occur in Germany and they might be reluctant to commit. Same for France. That doesn't mean we set aside the old NATO alliance, though. Keep it and establish another through Poland to the Caspian. This is a job for barbarians and we ARE perfect for it.

If you are thinking the EU is the hegemony we should resist, think again. We needed France and Germany to stop the bloodshed, but we did not need them to unite... and they haven't.

Treebeard said...

LOL @ locumranch. That's a great summary of the kind of "democracy" our Arrogati smarty-pants friends here believe in. A new feudalism presided over by a prog priesthood would surely be preferable, because let's face it, the common folk are too dangerous, reactionary, unscientific and difficult to herd to choose our leaders.

P.S. I'm not really seeing this "nightmare" and "down the toilet" phenomenon you guys are talking about; nothing much as changed as far as I can see since 1/20/17. I guess Trump has repeatedly tweaked the noses of liberal bubble-dwellers and their institutions, but that is hardly equivalent to a nightmare -- at least one that doesn't exists entirely between the ears.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred wrote: "... previous barbarians in Europe matured ..."
Hmmm. Were 1930s Germans barbarians?
Addressing your broader point, the US had a certain latitude previous empires did not have: they could attack or invade in days, rather than the months previous empires needed. Not that it hasn't stopped the US from maintaining over 100,000 personnel in some 720 bases overseas as part of that Pax. The iron fist resides within the velvet glove.

NoOne said...

Here's an interesting interview in Think Progress on the nexus between Russia and the far right in the West. Profiles the book Russia and the Western far right.

Richard Spencer is in town this Thursday (in Gainesville, FL) with his merry band of goons. Wish us luck. The town will be on lockdown.

These are certainly interesting times.....

Zepp Jamieson said...

"If the left-wing progressives think they can win any election without us "centrists", well, have a nice life..."

What are you going to do if the Dems nominate, say, Kamela Harris? Vote for Trump? You'll be in the awkward position of rejecting a candidate who says things similar to Clinton, but actually means them. A universal health care system? Oh, the horror! $15 an hour minimum wage? What kind of monster promises that?

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

"If the left-wing progressives think they can win any election without us "centrists", well, have a nice life..."

What are you going to do if the Dems nominate, say, Kamela Harris? Vote for Trump?


That is what he's saying. Or at least "sit it out and let Trump win again". That'll show those lefties! I was hoping I was wrong about him being a right-wing troll, but when I hope I'm wrong, I'm usually not.


Hmmm. Were 1930s Germans barbarians?


Is that a trick question? :)

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

I guess Trump has repeatedly tweaked the noses of liberal bubble-dwellers and their institutions, but that is hardly equivalent to a nightmare


No, of course, Trump hasn't made life worse for everyone. For Nazis and Nazi sympathizers, he's a positive boon. So of course, you'd be in favor.

Paul451 said...

For anyone who needs convincing that the Saudis don't want a shooting war between the US and Iran:

Map of Saudi oil infrastructure.

Plus, why they wouldn't want a collapse of Iran into true Iraq/Syria type chaos,

Major Shia populations in Saudi Arabia

Zepp Jamieson said...

LH said: "That is what he's saying. Or at least "sit it out and let Trump win again". That'll show those lefties! I was hoping I was wrong about him being a right-wing troll, but when I hope I'm wrong, I'm usually not.


Hmmm. Were 1930s Germans barbarians?


Is that a trick question? :)"

Well, the Doctor seems willing to vouch for him. I reserve judgement.

In the 1930s, Germany was considered one of the most civilised country on Earth. Even the Brits and the French admired their culture. They were feared, but admired.

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp | The iron fist resides within the velvet glove.

Of course. It wouldn't be a Pax if this weren't true. Look back at the others. The threat was always implied and often demonstrated to make sure everyone understood. A Pax is a forced peace much of the time. Considering our domination of the seas, this peace is also forced. It isn't supposed to be pretty, but ours is historically unusual.

1930's Germans? No. Think Conan the Barbarian. He knows he is right, you are wrong, and you better do as he says. He builds... occasionally... on the bones of his enemies. Sometimes he burns. Always, he knows he is right.

The Nazi's weren't barbarians. They were murderers engaging in classic displaced aggression.
The other Germans weren't barbarians either. If they had been, they would have crushed the Nazi's as the weaklings they were. Instead, they surrendered to the delusion.

Barbarians are both good and bad, but mostly they are culturally young and ignorant. They stomp around in their righteousness... and get things done. Good? Maybe. Bad? Occasionally. The English were barbarians in the 18th century. We were in the 19th and we get a fresh influx of them with each wave of immigration. Maybe we will grow out of this near the end of the 21st, but I'm betting against it. I suspect we will invent a new frontier and stomp around there too.

Don't mistake our Pax for something rosy. It isn't. If you expect that, you could reasonably argue it doesn't exist. It does exist, though, so LOOK at the iron fist in the velvet glove. What is it doing? What is it doing different than the British and Spanish did before?

Tony Fisk said...

The English were barbarians in the 18th century. We were in the 19th and we get a fresh influx of them with each wave of immigration. Maybe we will grow out of this near the end of the 21st, but I'm betting against it. I suspect we will invent a new frontier and stomp around there too.

Look up "Spatial Sorting".

Alfred Differ said...

Exactly. And don't think we don't recognize your folks as fellow barbarians. 8)



I found a cute article that will make a lot of us fathers nod our heads and smile, but there is a line in it that points out what we've done to the world. Our civilization did this... by forcing a peace.

The line is...

My kid doesn’t need me for knowledge. In fact, he will likely spend most of his life knowing far more than I do.

The article is...

https://www.fatherly.com/love-money/relationships/why-i-dont-bullshit-my-kid/

Paul SB said...

Alfred,

I don't disagree in general with what you said in your We the People post, but I would caution you to use that phrase only sparingly. We the People are quite diverse, including fascists like our bridge lurkers here, petty, self-aggrandizing spawn-of-Satan despots in every board room, throwbacks to the Dark Ages and throwbacks to silly movie renditions of the Dark Ages, people who seem reasonably sensible under normal circumstances but are easily duped by corrupt liars in high places and so on. Every new regime claims to have a mandate from "the People" when they win by half a percentage point, or in the case of the last two Republican victories, lose the popular vote but win by chicanery. Lots of morons claim to speak for the people. Locum Lies claims to speak for the people. Fools believe them, people who have an active neurology roll their eyes when they hear "We the People."

locumranch said...


Alfred offers much wisdom for, indeed, Pax America is murderous, nasty, brutish & Machiavellian, generating pacification (NOT 'peace') & anti-USA hatred in equal amounts, the very antithesis of the justice, rainbows & lollypops portrayed by the holier-than-thou US establishment.

This, then, is the GIFT that the USA can give to the rest of the World: Actual Liberty.

Leave them to their own devices -- "Boom, Boom" puns one Paul badly -- and let them either lose the way or find their own path forward on yon narrow road, so thick beset wi' thorns and briers...

That is the Path of Righteousness though after it but few inquires.


Best

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: Glad you're amazed rather than disturbed when someone disagrees with you.

"Yet, you do not address the ways in which every party that I named will benefit maximally from war and only from hot war."

Doing so would take quite some time, with chapters about each one of those parties and their actual self-interest calculations - and even then, result only in uncertainty.

I cannot read Putin's mind. I can make guesses about what he wants based on what he's done and what he's doing. But I'm no expert on Russia, and others can interpret those tea leaves more accurately.

Iran? Or Iranian mullahs? Which collection of mullahs were you referring to? What's the balance of power between Rouhani, Khamenei, Jafari (head of the Revolutionary Guard), Ahmadinejad today - and what will it be tomorrow? Or 2 weeks after a major war with the U.S.? How's Khamenei's prostate cancer influencing his calculation, or have the mullahs overruled their Supreme Leader and are acting through some other unknown hand? Did he issue his anti-nuke fatwa because he was on bad meds? Who will succeed him? Is Bahrain stable today, and will it be tomorrow in the event of a U.S.-Sunni-Shi'a war? How old is Prince Khalifa now, anyway?

Saudi? How much oil are they expected to export in 2030, if current rates of desal hold? Are desal plants vulnerable to Iran's missiles? Refineries? Shipping terminals? How long could the government function in given (a) a partial blockade, (b) a minor set of attacks on pipelines? How loyal is the shi'a population? The Sunnis themselves? What would America demand in exchange for major assistance against Iran - will Trump drive a harder bargain than GHWB exacted? Is the line of succession fixed? Do the various provincial governors have the ability to alter the line? Who are these 'Saudis' you think you understand anyway, and how well do you know them?

Does Trump believe that war with Iran is his ticket to winning in 2020? If he does, is he 'somewhat sure,' 'completely certain,' or 'subject to change on a whim'? Is he even worried about anything that far ahead? How's his health anyway?

And on and on. I know more questions about this region, and the analysis on many sides contemplating them, than you've even realized needed to be asked before trying to calculate what they really want, what is really in their self-interest.

One group can fully capitalize on all this uncertainty though, by knowing precisely what will follow the saber-rattling: well-connected financiers. And that's where you've offered a much more important tool than any of our crystal balls: the folks who will try to profit will be an inner circle that can trade on information about what Trump really will do. They must be reined in for the good of us all. The only tool I can think may do anything in that direction is to see them before it is too late (and hopefully, set up a contrary power to check them before that is impossible).

Zepp Jamieson said...

Doctor Brin does have a rosy view of the Pax, and yours, at least, comes a lot closer to the political reality. Yes, America has managed to help prevent a major general war from breaking out since 1945, but it has come through political, economic, and military coercion. That, in itself, is preferable to war. But the many brush wars and imposed revolutions (with a death toll of around six million since WW2) is only faintly preferable, and most certainly does not meet my definition of a "Pax".

My point about the Germans was that prior to the rise of Hitler, they were widely regarded as the most civilized nation on Earth. There's room for debate, of course, but as you say, they weren't barbarians. Even as they fell to the madness of Hitler's rule, they still were not barbarians.

LarryHart said...

Treebeard:

LOL @ locumranch. That's a great summary of the kind of "democracy" our Arrogati smarty-pants friends here believe in. A new feudalism presided over by a prog priesthood would surely be preferable, because let's face it, the common folk are too dangerous, reactionary, unscientific and difficult to herd to choose our leaders.


So let's get this straight. When we see serious issues with the status quo and speak out on what we believe, we're authoritarians forcing our beliefs down the throats of those who have differing opinions.

Unless you can remind me of how you happily fell in line with President Obama and never questioned his leadership, then your argument is full of crap. What you are asserting is that your particular tribe has a sacred duty to be the obstructionist opposition while out of power, but when you're in power, then everyone else has a sacred duty to shut up and obey.

And this makes us the authoritarians?

occam'scomic said...

Hrrmmm,

Wealthy white guy says racism is a distraction from issues important to a wealthy white guy. Other upper class white guys agree or say nothing.

I guess I should start to mentally prepare for Trump to be president for 8 years.
This kind of stupidity from liberals who think they are smarty pants will not be helpful.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

930's Germans? No. Think Conan the Barbarian. He knows he is right, you are wrong, and you better do as he says. He builds... occasionally... on the bones of his enemies. Sometimes he burns. Always, he knows he is right.

The Nazi's weren't barbarians.


I'm sorry, but you just proved that they were. I don't get the difference between Thing 1 and Thing 2.


They were murderers engaging in classic displaced aggression.


They can be two things.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

In the 1930s, Germany was considered one of the most civilised country on Earth. Even the Brits and the French admired their culture. They were feared, but admired.


Ok, "The 1930s" covers a lot of ground.

I was thinking more of the first half of the 1940s. But still, the Nazis who perpetrated Krystalnacht and invaded Czechoslovakia and Poland were barbarians.

Zepp Jamieson said...

OT, but of massive interest to this blog:
Gravitational waves emit light.
https://futurism.com/eso-unprecedented-discovery-gravitational-waves/

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

My point about the Germans was that prior to the rise of Hitler, they were widely regarded as the most civilized nation on Earth.


Ok, but there's very little overlap between "in the 1930s" and "prior to the rise of Hitler".

occam's comic said...

Several months ago I pointed out that our tax system (supported by republicans and democrats alike) systematically distorts the marketplace to the detriment of working people by subsidizing capital and taxing labor. And that this is area we could change in such a way as to actually help the people who sell their labor to make a living (almost all of us).

Of course, because I suggested it Dave flew into an incoherent rage and went on and on about how I was a stupid slave to the oligarchs.

Hopefully Dave will actually think about this idea now that Tim O”Reilly has an article on Evonomics that talks about the same thing.
http://evonomics.com/rewrite-the-rules-of-the-economy-tim-oreilly/ng.

“Why do we have lower taxes on capital when it is so abundant that much of it is sitting on the sidelines rather than being put to work in our economy? Why do we tax labor income more highly when one of the problems in our economy is lack of aggregate consumer demand because ordinary people don’t have money in their pockets?”

LarryHart said...

@occam's comic,

I don't know if this agrees with your point or not, but Thom Hartmann claims that when taxes on labor go down, that money is really saved by employers who know they can pay less while providing the same take-home pay as before. So essentially, all taxes and all tax-relief directed toward workers is actually felt by employers.

raito said...

Some from the last, some from the current.

Alfred Differ,

Where do new traditions come from, then?

And I'm not sure where you were going with Conan. In the literature, he doesn't always know he is right. But he is sometimes used to have an outside perspective on a culture. And his killings are pretty much idividual, not wholesale.

As for my children neeing me for knowledge, eventually no, they won't need me. And I want that, and for them to know morw than I do. For that to happen, it's my job to give them what I have more quickly than I gathered it.

One point, though, in favor of not being Calvin's dad. The truth is almost always more interesting than any story you can make up.

Paul451,

Of course 'lists'. Draw the straight line from McCarthy to Trump through Roy Cohn.

LarryHart,

While the Four Seasons covered that tune, the definitive version is Maurice Williams and the Zodiacs (Williams wrote it), which went to #1. Followed by the end of The Load Out by Jackson Browne, in my opinion.

And, as Tom Lehrer said, 'A Christian Scientist with appendicitis'.

Paul SB,

Knowledge suppression still happens. Locally, the deal cut between the cuty and a corporation to sell off the municipal fiber network practically guaranteed that the poor here will never have a decent home connection to the greatest pool of human knowledge ever created.

As for people needlessly dying, I abhor it. Even if not on moral grounds, I don't like the idea that one of those people might be the one who figures out how to cure cancer, except that someone didn't want them getting uppity.

And there's another portion of the population that supports the status quo -- those who aspire to success within it.

Re: Bernie

I know people who loathed both major party candidates and voted elsehwere. Some of them were miffed that Bernie didn't win the nomination. But worst is that they refused to discuss what the differences were between the 2 major candidates. And they've said openly that the don't care about what Trump might do, because they were both bad. The majority of those people (a small number, I admit) are PhDs who instruct in college (not all having professorships).

Paul451:

It's fairly amazing to me that practically no one gets that Uncle Remus is the smartest one in the books (and movie). And that while Song of the South will never be released again, and that the black/zebra centaurs were excised from Fantasia, that Peter Pan continues to be released.

As for words, an admitted anecdote. While redrawing the elementary school boundaries, the words 'demographics' and 'equity' kept coming up. Finally, I spoke. And what I said was that if we were going to talk about race and money, then we should talk about race and money. Because what color shoes I wear is a demographic. Didn't take, though.

Russell Osterlund said...

@LarryHart

I suppose I should acquiesce to those who are angry about UnObama's election while secretly smug that at least Clinton lost. And, if you are suggesting I turn the other cheek, I had eight years of enduring that, first with the Democrats in 2008 and then, from 2010 on, the Republicans. My small consolation will be that their life will suck along mine. Any person who believes a movement (or, revolution, hah!) is more important than winning the most important election in a generation, they deserve what they are getting, and, obviously another four years holds no terror for them. Next time around, any "progressive" candidate will need to pass my litmus-test, before receiving any support from me. Fighting one end of the spectrum from the other end will never succeed in reuniting the country.

LarryHart said...

raito:

And that while Song of the South will never be released again, and that the black/zebra centaurs were excised from Fantasia, that Peter Pan continues to be released.


Well, there was that "Tinkerbell" spin-off a few years ago that didn't include Peter.

LarryHart said...

Russell Osterlund:

Next time around, any "progressive" candidate will need to pass my litmus-test, before receiving any support from me. Fighting one end of the spectrum from the other end will never succeed in reuniting the country.


Forgive my denseness, but I'm still apparently missing your point. Your second sentence there seems to be in direct conflict with your first sentence.

Other than "I'm so angry I don't care what else happens," I can't discern your goal. And if that's it, then you're agreeing with the Bernie Bros.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Feel free to apply your litmus tests. But you just lost the faint credibility you had by accusing us of being "secretly smug that at least Clinton lost."

occam's comic said...

Larry,
It sounds like he is doing a static analysis at the level of the firm.


Zepp Jamieson said...

raito:

And that while Song of the South will never be released again, and that the black/zebra centaurs were excised from Fantasia, that Peter Pan continues to be released.

Well, America is going through one of those spasms of public morality that tend to afflict the US and UK at fairly regular intervals. This time it's ethnicity instead of sex, race, drugs or alcohol. Like all such, it began with good intention, and spun out of control. And like them, it will slowly erode over the next decade or so. History isn't cyclical, but it does have recurring motifs.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Electing the Orange One, if it truly was democratic and not caused by Republican or Russian efforts to delete valid voter registrations, is certainly the people's right. It is also, as the Declaration notes, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish [Government], and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. So yes, we can elect destructive men, we can fundamentally reshape the Constitution and the United States, or even destroy them, as we choose.

As said above, that doesn't make it a good idea. It doesn't mean that everyone agrees that their Safety and Happiness will be effected by such a move. And if one part of the citizenry thinks the other part is making a mistake, is it not their right and duty to say so?

As Larry points out to the ent, free speech isn't tyranny. And Locum the Berner has apparently drunken the leftist koolaid that sees & condemns the flaws of Pax Americana without caring about the alternatives. The "Actual Liberty" he prescribes was the consensus American foreign policy outside the Western Hemisphere prior to 1941. We know where it led; and that was in a world that didn't have thermonuclear MIRV-armed ICBMs. Nature abhors a vacuum, and unless Europe coheres rather than follow its thousand-year trend of atomization, the vacuum of world affairs will be filled by Russian bears and Chinese dragons, with dangerous results for American liberty. "Or we shall all hang separately" does not end at the water's edge.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson to Russell Osterlund:

you just lost the faint credibility you had by accusing us of being "secretly smug that at least Clinton lost."


RO would probably say that if that's not you, then he's not addressing you.

My separate point is that the 63 million people who did know Hillary was a better candidate than Trump are among those who are sufferning, and it is no consolation that "At least those smug Jill Stein voters are in hell with us." I'm getting the impression that he's doing the Dave Sim/stand-up comedian fallacy of being angry at the audience because so few of them showed up--directing anger at exactly the wrong people.

Catfish N. Cod said...

But if withdrawal from the diplomatic-military connections of the Pax or NATO isn't bad enough, locum advocates anti-Washington, anti-Union sentiment as well. I have heard such silly talk here and there from neighbors all my life. So let us imagine what would happen to, say, Alabama, if the "tyranny of Washington" were to vanish as so many supposedly advocate.

* Social Security: $1.3B in benefits were paid in 2016 to 1.1 million Alabamians -- 22% of the state population. That formed 1.5% of the Gross State Product of $204B, and replacing it would require an 8% increase in the state budget and a 13% increase in revenue. (Or the state could allow Social Security to lapse, impoverishing a large swath of the population -- some of whom would lose their homes, driving down home prices -- which would lower property tax revenue...)

* Medicare: $9.7B in payments (2014 data) are lost to the statewide medical system. Replacing them would require doubling state tax revenue, a likely impossible task. Rural hospitals close, private practices consolidate or go out of business, major hospitals cut back on services. The death rate among seniors rises substantially (which reduces Social Security payments). The unemployment rate soars as thousands of medical personnel and staff from their administrative, financial, and logistical support systems lose their jobs with no obvious replacement; some manage to start new businesses, but most with higher skill sets simply leave the state.

* Medicaid: 68% of the $6.0B spent in 2015 on Medicaid in Alabama was Federally sourced. This $4.1B also vanishes, resulting in either incredible tax hikes or a collapse in payments, exacerbating the collapse in Alabama's health care system. With the collapse in coverage for eligibles (22% of the Alabama population), thousands more die of preventable causes and formerly-banished epidemic diseases return in sizable numbers.

(For those keeping score, Alabama has now lost 7% of the Gross State Product so far -- resulting in a recession regardless of other factors.)

* Transportation: $735M was spent by the Federal government on Alabama's roads in 2014, representing 68% of Alabama's road spending. Replacing this funding would require gas taxes to be raised fourfold or more. Without this funding, Alabama's road system would begin to degrade. Potholes go unfixed, paving is delayed, bridges are not replaced and occasionally collapse.

* Food stamps: $1.25B in nutritional assistance benefits go away. Unless another 13% increase in revenue is approved, struggling workers and the indigent lose assistance for feeding themselves. Food pantries and charities are overwhelmed with requests. The number of homeless grows as people choose food over rent.

* Research: The research component of the university system collapses as $2.8B in research funding disappears. Universities massively downsize and intellectuals flee the state.

* Education: Since most education funding is local, impacts are less, but $550M in K-12, $500M in college aid, and $75M in lifelong learning funding is gone, for $1.1B in reduced educational funds. $1.6B in federal student loans are also made unavailable. Total impact to schools: $2.7B. School opportunities at all levels contract.

Catfish N. Cod said...

I could go on to military, NASA, other retirement and non-retirement benefits, and so on, but it's pointless. Fully 30% of Alabama's entire Gross State Product -- $60B out of $200B -- comes from federal spending of one sort or another. Without deep Federal involvement, Alabama's economy would immediately collapse and Alabamians would revert to the degree of comfort and civilization provided by the non-Federal state GDP of $27,000. A level shared by such countries as Greece... and Russia. Hardly barbaric, but not at all what they are used to.

Red states don't hate Washington money, they hate Washington's control necessitated by their own lack of money. This is the reason Republicans support block grants so often: they wish to regain control while still getting Federal largesse. But TAANSTAFL. That money comes from two sources -- the blue states and the full faith and credit of the Federal Government -- and both the makers and the creditors want a say in what happens with their money. Block grants are, simply put, taxation without representation. And you know how much Americans love that.

Red states could of course solve all such problems by making the changes in their economic, regulatory, and social systems to become more blue. States have flipped colors in such wise. But that would mean making social changes they dislike... hence their catch-22, wanting all the benefits of the Union with none of the drawbacks. Sorry. TAANSTAFL.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'm always puzzled at the people who vilify Stein (aside from the fact that she was the most embarrassing candidate the Greens have had). After all, the Libertarians got about three times as many votes, and exceeded the total by which Clinton beat Trump nationwide. Even odder is that the ones yelling how these minor candidates ruined it for everyone are often the same people who say we desperately need third parties.

Alfred Differ said...

@Locumranch | You miss an important point. We are barbaric. We are not murderous. There is a huge difference.

Also, they are getting liberty even if they are coerced into avoiding particular behaviors. Don't go to war with our neighbor (or threaten us too much) and we will leave you be... mostly. That isn't pure liberty, but it is pretty damn good in the historical sense. It's also a decent compromise in a world of men who would take their liberty the moment we pulled back. It offers a path forward for people to grow accustomed to freedom FROM violence. People can get used to that kind of freedom, so this is best seen as a long game.

If you really want them to have actual liberty, roll up your sleeves and help us squash those who take such gifts away from others. The world still has such people in it who deserve a good boot to the head, but you can also help by taking a path that doesn't harm anyone. Keeping people alive is a good start. Keeping their Hope alive is even better.

David Brin said...

You guys have been busy! Liveliest place on the Web! You kept me busy for a precious hour. Damn.

Then I found Catfish had chimed in. Try to be like him, guys?


Russell O. While I agree that Zepp was unfair to you and his zero-sum, narrow-tent approach would kill our hopes… I will point out that Bernie Sanders did not “Nader” Hillary. He campaigned hard for her and mostly succeeded in calming down the righteously leftist dopes in the party. Yes, the Bernites-who-ignore-Bernie did some harm as did Jill Stein, as did Putin. As did cheating Gopper Secretaries of State…

…but what’s important is to have a big tent that welcomes refugees from the confederate madness. Let California be liberal beacon! Give the Warrenists first pick of swing districts!

But also put full force into finding retired military women and men to run in every red assembly district in the nation! And when those science-loving, rights respecting but stylishly conservative folks show up in Congress, ARGUE with them! Negotiate. That is the sound of victory.

LH: “Emily Litella?” Argh we are OLD!

Paul45: “Doesn't that same reasoning condemn those who supported Clinton over Sanders?

Do any of you recall how desperately I sought help to run that “Clinton-Bush” satirical chant on YouTube? I wanted Jerry Brown!

David Brin said...



“IIRC, by the time it was cancelled, the series (‘V’) was revolving around an alien/human hybrid who had magic powers... or something.”

Same damn thing in Falling Skies. And the under-rated “Earth: Final Conflict” which had the best tech prescience I have ever seen. It should be watched for that reason, alone.

Tar-baby… those screeching “racist! don’t get that it is the finest metaphor in the english language for getting stuck in a quagmire that you had reached out towards. It is simply insanity to toss out such a useful metaphor in favor of taking offense at a purely illogical alternative “trigger.” But in this age of quick tempers, I guess I should avoid it. Alas.

Paul: “The Saudis, in practice, wouldn't want even limited US military action. They want Iran financially restricted, of course, but they benefit from political chaos within Iran, not the chaos that strengthens the hold of the Imams; nor the utter chaos of societal collapse and insurgency that risks spreading more extremists in their own backyard. Containment, not shattering.”

You make a good point about the mullahs being strengthened frightening the Saudis. But it’s all moot. Trump will rain in rockets that specifically target Iranian oil production. Putin will extend his umbrella saving the mullahs and letting them crack down. The Saudis will get giant oil prices and Iranian agreement to leave Yemen.

David Brin said...



donzel:
- Point about variety in Iran’s Mullah caste? grade D- You know there is a huge minority that deems the urbanized modernists to be satanic and will unite to crush them.

-Point about war being risky for the Saudis? grade B A solid point. It is risky. So they’d pretend to object to the American strikes and quietly negotiate the Iranians out of Yemen, while raking in oil$ and using the distraction to clamp hard on their shiite zones.

Trump wavering over war? grade F. It will be seen as his one way out of current hell. The greatest role of his life! Commander in Chief! Any one who thinks Donald Trump will pass on that life experience is a …

Zepp: “but it has come through political, economic, and military coercion”

Utter bullshit. All those nations would not have dropped their own arms spending close to zero, if they yearned to be free of the US thumb, nor sent millions of their brightest to our schools, nor embraced English eagerly. Opinion polls in NATO countries rank the alliance high and America too, when they are given an excuse, like Obama. And we are HUGELY popular in Eastern Europe, which adores NATO. You just… make… stuff… up.

But the lefty-locums are out in force.
Occam!: “Wealthy white guy says racism is a distraction from issues important to a wealthy white guy.”

Bullshit you cheating smarmy toad. I said Racism is a horrid problem and have fought it all my life. Tell me about “wealthy white did” when you spent your high school years at an almost all-black school right after the Watts riots.

But a majority of Republicans claim in their hearts not to be racist. Many are fools ignoring their taints. But ALL of them now express bitter loathing of fact-professions.

Pay attention, fool. The oligarch-lords may benefit a little from riling the Nazi types, but not much. That stain is hurting them in many places. But the war on all fact-professions is directly tied to oligarch self-interest. It crushes all competing elites that might stand in the way of feudalism-restoration. And you’d see this if you scraped two neurons.

But thanks for illustrating that the left also has reflexive buffoons.

“Several months ago I pointed out that our tax system (supported by republicans and democrats alike) systematically distorts the marketplace to the detriment of working people by subsidizing capital and taxing labor. And that this is area we could change in such a way as to actually help the people who sell their labor to make a living (almost all of us). Of course, because I suggested it Dave flew into an incoherent rage and went on and on about how I was a stupid slave to the oligarchs.”

You … are… a… damned… liar.

David Brin said...


locum: “according to David, the polity no longer deserves the opportunity to voice its own preferences…”

Liar. Pure liar. Venomous liar. Deliberate traitor-liar.

Oh, no! Those smartpants and liberals and the American MAJORITY are pointing out - freely - that we confederates are flaming fact-hating gyrating-capering, masochistic idiots! And proof falls from the air every day that they are right.

That’s oppression! Pointing out our catastrophic stupidity is oppression!

No, dope. We aren’t oppressing you. (Though you’d oppress us, if you could.) We are openly and freely pointing out that you are drooling morons. You have a right to be! Only did this, traitor-liar. We have a right to openly and freely SAY that you are morons.

And to mobilized and overcome your electoral cheating, and save YOUR lives, from yourselves.

All that matters to the ent is that our noses get tweaked. Fine. I got a big one. I’ll let you tweak it if you’ll let us save the world from your troglodytic idiocy. And sorry, but I have a right to say you’re an idiot. If you guys win, that right will end.

Stay safe No One!

Alfred Differ said...

@Paul SB | I understand that some will misinterpret 'We the People' when I say that. I probably use it in an unusual and libertarian way, so the opportunity for confusion is there. I try to cope with that by being verbose when I use it to provide the context needed to convey what I actually intend.

When I say 'We The People' I'm thinking a bit like a hurricane modeler who carefully avoids using one particular model for projecting the future. We aren't a consensus. We are an ensemble that occasionally produces a consensus. Each element of the ensemble, though, can produce interdependent results.

Our Pax isn't the result of consensus any more than air pressure on the inside of a balloon requires consensus among the air molecules responsible. There ARE occasional macro-sized opinions (Marshall Plan for example) that correlate with enforced peace, but I suspect most of the forces involved are micro-sized, thus will never be described in our history books.

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp | but it has come through political, economic, and military coercion.

Only some of it. You seem to be fixated on the harder forms of power. Most of what we do involves soft power, though. Look below the government and military layers at The People. Some of us trade directly. Some of us gift directly. Some of us educate directly.

(I know of a guy who spent time educating people in Ukraine in the ways of democracy. I'd bet my house the Russians couldn't tell the difference between an American doing that through an NGO and America doing that as an act of national policy. Look what happened.)

Zepp Jamieson said...

"And we are HUGELY popular in Eastern Europe, which adores NATO."
Hmmm. I don't recall eastern Europe being a beneficiary of American largess prior to 1991, and some of it narrowly avoided becoming a criminal kleptocracy under the guidance of American free marketeers, as happened with Russia.
As for the general tone of your post, may I suggest stool softener? It may help.

Russell Osterlund said...

@Zepp Jamieson:

Feel free to apply your litmus tests. But you just lost the faint credibility you had by accusing us of being "secretly smug that at least Clinton lost."

And feel free to applaud your own ability and credibility to detect a troll. It is about as accurate as your capability to determine a person's location from their last name. I come from the state which I am proud to proclaim has an all-Democratic and all-female Congressional delegation. Oh, and we are first in the nation for primaries.

@LarryHart:
Forgive my denseness, but I'm still apparently missing your point. Your second sentence there seems to be in direct conflict with your first sentence.

I am a "centrist" which seems to be a dirty-word in some circles. I don't think a one-trick pony circus show has a monopoly on the future of the country. It certainly does not have a future by pissing on any future allies.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

I'm always puzzled at the people who vilify Stein


I'm not upset at Jill Stein so much as those who voted for her specifically to spite Hillary. If they did that because they thought Trump couldn't possibly win, I can grudgingly forgive that as long as they've been chastened enough not to do that again.


(aside from the fact that she was the most embarrassing candidate the Greens have had).


And there's a bothersome Russia/Putin connection that I can't ignore.


After all, the Libertarians got about three times as many votes, and exceeded the total by which Clinton beat Trump nationwide.


Libertarians at least consistently try to run and win. And I'm not sure Libertarian voters would have preferred Hillary over Trump had they been the only two choices available. Stein's purpose on the ticket seemed to be for progressives who didn't like Hillary to have someone else to vote for, reprising Ralph Nader.


Even odder is that the ones yelling how these minor candidates ruined it for everyone are often the same people who say we desperately need third parties.


We need a more parliamentary system to make third parties work. Third parties in our current system mostly harm the voters whose interests allign with them. Jill Stein voters got Trump, the major candidate they most likely didn't want, or at least weren't happy with after the fact. Same with Nader voters and W. Had Trump run as a third-party candidate, he would have harmed Jeb Bush (or Ted Cruz or whoever) the same way.

Russell Osterlund said...

@Dr. Brin:

If Trump gets impeached, I'd suggest Jerry Brown against Mike Pence. If Trump survives to 2020, then Sanders for the win. If Trump and Pence both get impeached, Warren would slaughter Ryan.

And in 2024 or 2028, Kamala Harris please.


People have taken my tone to be anti-Bernie, and, yet, the above is written as a slogan to inspire and give one hope. I am tired of people blaming Clinton and "establishment Democrats" only for the loss. Given what she was up against, it is not surprising the race was as close as it was - it never should have been. Some people need to look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they did enough in the last election.

occam's comic said...

Dave,
This is exactly the type of overly emotional, incoherent rage filled response that is typical when someone has the audacity to call out wealthy white liberal man as clueless. You are the one who said racism is a distraction. And you know, the little story about your dad and the American Nazis isn’t going to convince anyone who has actually experienced racism in their life that racism is a distraction. But it might convince other clueless white guys that racism is just a distraction.

I mean you are a pretty crappy partner in a coalition when you dismiss the one of the most important concerns of a substantial portion of your democratic coalition.


And as far as me being a liar about your rage filled response to my suggestion that the tax system systematically favors capital and penalizes labor, I guess I will have to go find the actual exchange and repost it.

David Brin said...

Alfred has been cogent: “We aren't a consensus. We are an ensemble that occasionally produces a consensus. Each element of the ensemble, though, can produce interdependent results.”
That wins post of the day on a busy day. And in competition with Catfish!

Zepp is at least honest about his obduracy: “… "And we are HUGELY popular in Eastern Europe, which adores NATO."
“Hmmm. I don't recall eastern Europe being a beneficiary of American largess prior to 1991, and some of it narrowly avoided becoming a criminal kleptocracy under the guidance of American free marketeers, as happened with Russia.”

Then try actually talking to someone from there, fellah. They are grateful we held the line when they were slaves, so there’d be freedom when the line and wall fell.

Occam, your yammered finger-wags are stunningly hypocritical and dismissed with contempt. You come at me like a snapping, foaming wolf and then run around “yipe!-yipe! yipe!” when you deservedly got the back of my hand.

I will not parse or pay any heed to your nasty-lying spew. Get along, pup. Come back when you can stand like 95% of the members of this community and argue, instead of hurling outright lies.

occam's comic said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Guys
This is going to as welcome as a fart in a space suit
But - IF - we can survive the Orange Shitgibbon - The adults stop him from starting a war

Then having him as POTUS will give you guys the best chance of ending up with a government that can put in a few permanent fixes before your electorate loses it's memory again

Just think what would be happening with Hillary as POTUS -
She would not have been able to get anything done and she would have been blamed for EVERYTHING
Instead of a swing away from the GOP there would be a swing towards the GOP

Instead you have somebody who is flailing to get any of his horrible program enacted and is making it clear as day just how well the GOP is running the country

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred:

Well, American soft power can be pretty bloody awful these days, thanks to the religious nutters.

I didn't quite understand what you were trying to say in your Ukraine anecdote. Could you please clarify?

A.F. Rey said...

Oh man. Cheeto-In-Chief. I wish I'd thought of that. 8)

If you like the name, you'll probably really like the song, Desperate Cheeto. :)

https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2017/10/13/a-musical-interlude/

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Then try actually talking to someone from there, fellah. They are grateful we held the line when they were slaves, so there’d be freedom when the line and wall fell."

Back in the early naughties, when it was safe to have independent polls in Russia, Russians expressed a strong preference for the days of the USSR. A kleptocracy is no real improvement over communism and may actually be worse.

Zepp Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Zepp Jamieson said...

"the inanity of thinking the alt-right is about racism! What stunning nonsense. Yet no liberal or democrat can see that "racism!" is a distraction, a tar-baby, meant to cling and grab all the attention away from the blatant, central confederate theme... hatred of the fact-using, expert castes."

I'm still blinking in utter disbelief at that quote.

Authoritarians, as a matter of course, want to alienate people from knowledge and science. They want people whose eyes glaze over and who march obediently when you waggle a flag or flog a bible. War against the intelligentsia is SOP for that lot. Racists and religious zanies are most prone to target science and the humanities because it makes a hash of their putrid and unrealistic notions,

But going after science isn't their raison d'etre; it's just a tool they use. Don't kid yourself, Doctor, the Alt-Right is all about the racism. They hate blacks. They hate Hispanics. They hate Moslems. They hate Jews. BWOE, do you remember that "Star of David" ad the Trump campaign ran? The shape was not just a six-sided callout as they claimed: it was cribbed from an ad on 12chan, an area of the web darker than 4chan, and the bottom half of the ad, which the Trump campaign had enough sense to crop listed "BIG JEWS WHO SUPPORT HILLARY CLINTON" Of course, it included every right winger's notion of a Big Jew Who Isn't Actually Jewish: George Soros.
Nor was it some sort of aberration: this occurred the day after the death of Elie Weisel, and this news was greeted there with the solumn and dignified header, "Ding Dong! The Kike is Dead!"

The intelligensia are a target, but it's not the scientists who will go to the death camps: they'll put you to work bombing London. It the "others" they have the really big plans for.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Didn't say your name betrayed your location. I figured it was just a dumb pun.

When people disrupt a thread to make nonsensical allegations about what they believe as you have, I smell the underside of a bridge over polluted waters.

You might consider cleaning up your little act.

A.F. Rey said...

Regarding the possibility of a President Pence, I came across an article in the New Yorker that should add another log to the fire.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2017/10/23/the-danger-of-president-pence

Zepp Jamieson said...

"And there's a bothersome Russia/Putin connection that I can't ignore."

Yeah. At the very least, she was a patsy.
It's funny. There's a lot of Republicans who dismiss "the Russia thing" as just more media fake news, and that's to be expected. The GOP got turned into a cult over the past twenty years, and they, unsurprisingly, behave like cultists. But if you get them to talk about it, they will say they are disturbed at Russian meddling, but stop short of saying Trump was involved.
It's the far left--the Stien supporters, the WSWS crowd--who staunchly deny there is any evidence of Russian meddling at all. They figure is just a concerted black op attack on Wikileaks, when the grim reality is Assange sold out.

David Brin said...

I'm not interested in playing with a lying little twit. The fellow is banned for a month. But knowing his kind, he'll come back here screeching to be banned for life. Too bad, there was a time when he actually contributed.

Lesson here. We all tend to worst case interpret unfriendly positions. But when that leads to lying strawmanning, you lose your ability to target. (Example: had the fool accused me of "insensitivity" for claiming there's an agenda on the far right that is more important to them, than racism, that might have been a point. Instead, he shrieked at my character for daring to suggest that the Koch-Mercers might have another enemy that is more dangerous to their plans and more important to repress, and that they target more relentlessly than black people.

Do minorities SUFFER more from racism than fact-professionals suffer from the war on them? Of course. And I'd gladly amend my position, had any of you raised that. There, I tried actually paraphrasing an adult version of the objection. Nevertheless, the Koch-mercers MUST discredit the professions. Racism is TO THEM a lesser tool for riling emotional confederate, even if it is primary to a minority of republicans.

I say all of that to you guys, to delineate what might have been a way to argue with a sane adult, instead of a raging twit, who could not recognize an ally if he dragged him from a burning car.

Zepp Jamieson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Brin said...

BTW Zepp just attacked me over the same assertion. I deem him to be a very ignorant and illogical person. But he actually tries to argue, instead of cramming vile lies into my mouth.

matthew said...

The grim reality was that Assange was *always* a Russian stooge. Look into the Russian government support for Wikileaks - it was remarkably early.

The signs that Jill Stein was supported by Russia were everywhere before the election. I mentioned them here several times to mostly yawns. The idea that no one knew she was getting support from the Far Right and from Russia (is there a difference anymore?) were everywhere - all the fawning articles on RT should have been the first clue. All the support from troll farms should have been a second clue.

Zepp Jamieson said...

I'm going to have to form a band! Doctor David's Ignorant and Illogical Band.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Assange: yeah, that's probably true.
I remember you mentioning Stein during the election. I had seen evidence supporting it of my own, but didn't consider it relevant at the time. I knew Stein was an unelectable git, and wouldn't get more than 1% of the vote.
What I underestimated at the time was the horrifying extent of Russian involvement. I figured they were behind the DNC hack, but that story was a non-starter; the emails showed that that political campaigns were dirty, but that wasn't exactly news. No smoking guns, not even cap pistols.
Of course, the more we learn, the worst it gets. The Trump campaign was bordering on treason.

David Brin said...

I think it is important to collate reputable articles about Russian support for Stein. Look, I have been a member of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for 40 years+. But the indignation junkies on our own side, who drive away allies, are our enemy within. And the Big Enemies have learned to exploit em.

Anonymous said...

Duncan Cairncross:

Just think what would be happening with Hillary as POTUS -
She would not have been able to get anything done and she would have been blamed for EVERYTHING
Instead of a swing away from the GOP there would be a swing towards the GOP


I actually have thought of that. President Hillary with a Republican-controlled Congress might have been the worst situation, long term.

The problem with Trump is that he might destroy the country short-term before the long term
even gets its pants on.


Instead you have somebody who is flailing to get any of his horrible program enacted and is making it clear as day just how well the GOP is running the country


I'd like to think so, but unfortunately we've seen this movie before in 2006, and the Democrats only got four years out of that. Then, Republicans and supply-side economics were "in" again.

LarryHart said...

Hey, that was me agreeing with Duncan just now.

Not sure how the name got dropped...oh yeah, it must have been when reCAPTCHA threw up.

Tony Fisk said...

I had been regarding the email scandal as a distraction (my little bubble), and was willing to cut Assange some slack until midway through last year, when the democrat vs republican leaking became clearly and literally 'one sided'. It is a reporter's task to describe the state of balance, not adjust it to taste.

Duncan Cairncross said...

It's not just Democrats that are like herding cats
It seems to be all "Lefties"

There seem to be any number of ways to trick the “left” into forming a circular firing squad
In the UK it is to accuse somebody of “Antisemitism” or even worse “Holocaust denial”

In the USA its the battle between "Centrists" and Leftys" or it's Bill Clinton's sexism or its Hilary's giving talks to the banks

This has the desired effect - people start tearing each other to bits over small differences in opinion

I suspect this is because 90% of the people on the “left” do feel a little guilty

This is the main difference between the “Left” and the “Right”

People on the “Left” feel guilty about small and in many ways justifiable criticisms

People on the “Right” do not feel guilty about anything

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Larry

we've seen this movie before in 2006, and the Democrats only got four years out of that.

I expect that to happen again so you must make some structural changes during your brief time in power
Gerrynmandering
Voter registration
Taxes

David Brin said...

Gerrynmandering
Voter registration
Taxes...

Also banning CEOs making their companies do stock buy-backs that automatically vest their own golder parachutes, instead of investing in R&D.

And actually punishing those waging economic and sabotage war against us.

An agency to certify voting machines.

Change to vote day to Sunday.

Give the banks one year to set up free poor-people accounts, under threat that we restart the Postal Bank.

Real whistleblower laws.

Eclectic, reciprocally accountable fact-checking services and other ways to verify credibility.

Restoration of the Rebuttal Rule for all media that pretend to be "news."


Duncan Cairncross said...

Those are all good ideas
I especially like the bank account one
If everybody had bank accounts then a whole lot of things become much simpler and fairer

Zepp Jamieson said...

Good ideas, but one question: Why limit "vote day" to just one day? Why not make it "vote week" during which votes can be cast at ballot stations, by mail, or any other tamper proof way that increases voter access?

locumranch said...


Alfred had me until he launched into that old canard, that false dichotomy, that comparison between the Freedom TO engage (or act) with the Freedom FROM engagement (or action) wherein the former (the freedom TO) allows the protagonist to escape the protective cocoon & the latter (the freedom FROM) constrains the protagonist within a restrictive cocoon (for their own protection), the take-away being that freedom FROM is the antithesis of the freedom TO.

To put it into a Pax America & LarryH bullying context:

Pax Americana claims the freedom to act for itself so it may suppress, constrain & bully other nations into involuntary passivity 'for their own good' (purportedly), insomuch that the freedom FROM bullying offered by Pax Americana presupposes bullying by Pax Americana.

It follows that there's no such thing as 'Freedom FROM Bullying' because such negative freedoms presuppose bullying by a beneficent super-bully.

That said, I agree that barbarism is a GOOD thing because it possesses a masculine vitality that (cough) effete urbanity lacks as in the case of the barbaric former taking a blade to & resolving by force the very Gordian Knots that the civilised latter struggles to untangle in vain.

Racism is one such knotty distraction, insolvable by civilised Identity Politics, mostly because Identity Politics (the process of dividing the polity by gender, orientation, interest, religion & race) is RACIST and divisive in & of itself because that which 'divides' cannot unify.

The various 'Isms' are NOT just about discrimination, prejudice or targeted abuse: They represent an over-emphasis on the significance of race, sex & other distinguishing characteristics; and this over-emphasis then leads to a pernicious form of exceptionalism which demands selective (corrective) legal enforcement.

And, as the law either applies to EVERYONE without exception -- male & female, red & blue, bully & victim, angel & devil -- or it applies to NO ONE, then selective (corrective) legal enforcement leads to nullification, secession and balkanisation through legal inequality, disunity & division.

No exceptions.


Best
______
You do know that banks no longer pay interest, don't you?
That they demand service charges, fees & penalties?
That the poor can no longer afford to use banks?
NPR did an expose on this:

http://www.npr.org/2017/01/10/509126878/what-is-driving-the-unbanking-of-america

Alfred Differ said...

@Zepp | American soft power can be pretty bloody awful these days

Yes. All applications of power fell rough if you are on the receiving end. Some bruise and maim. Others offer a velvet stroke, but flatten anything in the way due to the iron fist inside. Do you know how Ike got the British to back out of the Suez conflict? He threatened to dump our reserves of their currency. No shots would have been fired.

It's not just the nutters among us. Some of our corporations are predatory. Some of our behaviors are bi-polar. Sometimes we move too much money into a too small market. Sometimes our gifts overwhelm local markets. For example, I lived near the capitol of Iceland between '73 and '75. The locals were very picky about Americans bringing goods bought on base outside the fence. One guy and a station wagon full of American products could do a lot of damage to the local town simply by selling things at a mild profit. They used to search our cars when we went off-base. For that risk, though, we kept the Russians out.

Ukraine anecdote

Sorry about that. I'm trying to be careful and not get someone in trouble for what he did. I thought his actions were commendable, so it's tricky. His NGO takes the attitude that oppressed people need to be taught Democracy instead of just having all of us expect them to figure it out for themselves. Your comment about Russian polls and their nostalgia is accurate... and noticed by people who try to deal with it. He was in Ukraine trying to teach the locals the finer details. It's not enough to have elections. One must build the institutions necessary to secure them, right? He is directly involved in American politics, running campaigns, and at consulting for many others, so he knows his stuff. When he was over there, though, he was acting as a private citizen. Do you think the Russians would believe that, though? He really was and I know it because he was involved mostly in GOP politics and he was over there long enough for both GWB and Obama to be President. When David gives Obama and Clinton credit for the damage done to Russian foreign policy (Putin's claim), I have to grin wildly because I know how much this guy dislikes Obama and is repulsed by Hillary Clinton. Hah! Sometimes the credit gets assigned in weird ways, but I'd bet (my house again) that several actions wound up doing the damage Putin suffered. Most will never get mentioned in history books.

We really ARE an ensemble. I think of Rhapsody in Blue when I imagine Americans as a whole. Lots of disjointed voices, frustrated pieces, and the occasional barbaric screeching. Just when you get used to that, BAM... it all comes together... and then falls apart again... of course. If you think about it later, though, you know the underlying theme and can hum it.

Alfred Differ said...

@locumranch | You are pointing out that my effort to protect you from a bully leaves you vulnerable to me being a bully, right? Yah. That's pretty obvious. There is an efficiency problem for your argument, though. If I bully everyone into not bullying, I'm the only bully left and I'm not going to have much time to assign to any one of you. Maybe I'll pick one and make an example of them to keep the rest of you in line, but most of the time you'll pretty much be free of bullying. This is the 'war is good for us' argument. It makes my skin crawl, but I recognize some truth in it.

We aren't much of a bully, though, compared to our predecessors. For that reason alone, your argument falls over. A bully that doesn't do it often isn't much of a danger. A bully that can be satiated, even less. A bully that can be flattered... well...



As for the banks, you miss the point. Many of the poor wouldn't be so poor if they could use banks. I used to work for a sub-prime lender. Believe me when tell you that you wouldn't want to be our customer. We claimed to take a higher moral road in helping people establish credit at non-shark rates, but an extra 2% on your mortgage rate was the price. Cha-ching!

Not having people participate in banking is a bit like not letting them into hospitals and clinics. They suffer, but so we. It's dumb.

George Carty said...

@David Brin: Look, I have been a member of Greenpeace and the Sierra Club for 40 years+

Environmental NGOs like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club fight tooth and nail against nuclear power and insist that "renewables" such as wind and solar are the only acceptable solution to climate change. I'm afraid this makes them part of the problem not part of the solution. Surely the objective of our energy policy should not be to build more wind and solar generation capacity, but rather to cut CO2 emissions, and a comparison between nuclear-powered France (60 g CO2/kWh) and renewables-enthusiastic Germany (480 g CO2/kWh) shows what the real solution is?

Wind and solar are unreliable and need back-up, and unless you are somewhere with ample hydroelectric resources (for example, Danish wind turbines are backed up by Norwegian hydroelectric dams) that backup almost invariably comes from gas. Worse, the need to be able to ramp quickly up and down to balance the fickle output of wind turbines and solar panels means that inefficient simple-cycle gas plants must be used (rather than the more efficient combined-cycle plants). These factors mean that the combination of wind and solar + gas actually emits almost as much CO2 as you would emit if you just burned gas (which would be much cheaper too due to the cost of the wind and solar equipment).

Wind and solar are just expensive ways to greenwash dependence on gas, which is why they are so lavishly promoted by Big Gas (and Big Oil – the same wells often extract both fossil fuels). The money to this is funnelled via environmental NGOs (and usually first through so-called philanthropic foundations first – new kid on the block Chesapeake Gas got sloppy and the Sierra Club was busted taking $25 million from them directly). These NGOs are not serving the environment – they are serving their own backers in the fossil fuel industry.

Big Oil/Gas are like the archetypal war profiteer who sells arms to both sides of a conflict. On the one side they fund climate change deniers – if the public buys that, they win. On the other side they fund anti-nuclear environmental NGOs – if they succeed in suppressing nuclear power, then money meant to help the environment gets wasted on useless wind and solar, and Big Oil/Gas wins again!

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi George
I like Nuclear - and I would agree that it would have been a good solution in the past
But the time for nuclear power on earth has come - and gone

Nuclear is simply too expensive and worse it takes too long to get the permissions and get it built

Solar and wind electricity production are already a LOT cheaper than nuclear

As you say at the moment that would then require fossil fuel back-up
BUT over a large enough area that is not true and battery storage prices are falling FAST

Long before you could get a new nuclear plant commissioned you will be able to replace it with a wind solar and storage plant for a fraction of the cost
And to add insult to injury it will actually take up less space!

greg byshenk said...

Alfred's comment about children and knowledge makes me think of Louis Armstrong's lyrics:

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes I think to myself what a wonderful world

LarryHart said...

@greg byshenk,

While some health care provider ruined that song for me with an overplayed commercial, I still hear ya'.

A lesser-known Roger Whittaker lyric:

Seems to me that being young is a kind of being free.
You know, when I was young, my life was very good to me,
But when I see the young today out to have a ball,
I know they learned the lessons that I never learned at all.



My daughter is so far ahead of me that she's already been dumped by a boyfriend at an age where my first date was more than a year in the future.

Tim H. said...

George, I've said before that anti-nuclear=pro-coal, but it's not as true now as it was then. This doesn't bother me a lot, solar & wind development are a good thing, and methane powered peak electricity is a lot cleaner than coal.

Zepp Jamieson said...

Alfred: one of the finest responses I've seen on this or any group. I think you've given a comprehensive and accurate painting of American and US-based NGO policy over the past couple of decades, and the American attitudes that inform such things.
As for the Ukraine anecdote, I just didn't understand what the point was, but it's clear now. And I understand your caution.
Thanks!

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Long before you could get a new nuclear plant commissioned you will be able to replace it with a wind solar and storage plant for a fraction of the cost
And to add insult to injury it will actually take up less space! "

Yeah, but you still have the problem of finding a safe, permanent location to store the depleted breezes and sunshine...

Darrell E said...

Duncan,

Regarding nuclear, I don't think your conclusions about nuclear power are accurate given that the technology is far from mature. There are numerous design concepts for nuclear power generation that are far in advance of plants in service today. Most plants in operation in the US are based on 30 year old, or older designs. There are modern design concepts in which the failure modes are inherently not catastrophic, with out the need for active measures. Designs which can theoretically extract up to 90% of the energy available in the fuel compared to the ~10% that current designs extract. That also results in spent fuel that is correspondingly less dangerous over time. That also means that the "spent" fuel accumulated so far is a large, already extracted fuel reserve.

I agree that nuclear is expensive. Developing the future generation concepts is expensive, just as any new technology is expensive to develop. We've stalled on that for 40 + years. We've let it stagnate. But, if we had the will to do it, if we decided that it was important to develop modern nuclear design concepts and replace fossil fuel power generation with nuclear, then it wouldn't be too expensive. And the long term result would be inexpensive power, plentiful power, safe power, fuel reserves for hundreds of years minimum and much less CO2 generation. China has decided to make the effort. They seem to be making good progress, even though they are not currently building any of the more advanced designs I'd like to see.

Nuclear vs solar and wind? And tidal maybe? I am not the slightest bit opposed to any of them. But it seems unlikely that renewables will be able to provide all of our power needs. All renewables are low density and therefore take up a relatively large amount of space. They are also intermittent. They have there own environmental impacts. Batteries are inefficient, expensive, resource intensive. But sure, they could work for large scale storage. And better battery technologies are looking to be pretty close. But all of that together cheaper than a mature nuclear power? Less environmentally impactful? I have doubts about that. I also don't think renewables by themselves will be sufficient. At least not without creating problems comparable in scale and severity (with the likely exception of CO2) to what we have now after 100+ years of fossil fuel use.

raito said...

LarryHart,

"At least those smug Jill Stein voters are in hell with us."

Schadenfreude is one of the things I've tried to eliminate in myself. But sometimes it's tempting. Who do you think those college instructors I mentioned voted for?

Zepp Jamieson,

I'm not vilifying Stein. I'm dissappointed in those who did not make pragmatic decisions, and who were willing to give me and others pain through doing so.

Here, at least, a third-party would be great if it could get enough votes to be at the table. Currently, I think that's requires 5%.

You do know that she paid for a recount in WI, right? And the laws that allowed her to do so were then attacked by the GOP, under the thin excuse that since she couldn't possibly win, she had no standing to call for a recount. Which presupposes that the outcome of the recount is known.

George Carty,

Wind and solar are only unreliable on a local scale. Better transport and storage would make that moot. Unless the changing climate throws all that off balance, too.

Maybe we just need to convert gravity waves into electricity.

A.F. Rey said...

LH: “Emily Litella?” Argh we are OLD!

Thanks for making me feel old. My initial reactions was, "Hey, that's not that old...uh, wait a minute...damn." :(

Robert said...

A book recommendation - Churchill and Orwell, by Thomas Ricks.
More than ever, I think of them as two of the greatest individuals of the 20th century, with Churchill almost certainly holding the number 1 spot. The author comes across as one of the sane conservatives, who broke with the nuts early. (His book on the Iraq War [2006] is titled Fiasco). He also repeats Orwell's rules for writing in his epilogue. Number 1 is "Check your Facts". Sound like someone we know? And even, better, he has some scathing remarks on "Nationalists posing as conservatives." What's not to like?

Bumper sticker proposal:
IMPEACH PENCE FIRST

I wonder if any Republicans are left who are smart enough to retaliate with PELOSI IN 2019? (with the question mark).

It looks more and more like getting 2/3 of the Senate to move against Trump will not be a problem. "It's the House, stupid!" And I agree with David that we shouldn't move unless we have D control of both houses. Under those circumstances, it would even be relatively safe to leave Pence in place.

GOP 1860-1995, RIP. Wish you were still around; I'd vote for you.


Bob Pfeiffer

LarryHart said...

raito:

You do know that she paid for a recount in WI, right? And the laws that allowed her to do so were then attacked by the GOP, under the thin excuse that since she couldn't possibly win, she had no standing to call for a recount. Which presupposes that the outcome of the recount is known.


It also supposes that the election is a game show in which only the potential winner has a stake. It seems to me that any citizen of the United States should have standing here--certainly any citizen of Wisconsin.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

Bumper sticker proposal:
IMPEACH PENCE FIRST

I wonder if any Republicans are left who are smart enough to retaliate with PELOSI IN 2019? (with the question mark).


That's a darned good point. Convince the Republican congress to impeach T & P while it will still be their guy who moves up from the third place slot. Otherwise, come 2019, we'll do it for them.

donzelion said...

George Carty: "Environmental NGOs like Greenpeace and the Sierra Club fight tooth and nail against nuclear power and insist that "renewables" such as wind and solar are the only acceptable solution to climate change."

Some day, perhaps the proponents of transparency will turn away from the nitpicking infighting and assertions of knowledge in fields outside their expertise, and towards internal accountability. I am confident the money playing behind the scenes could tell quite a tale, but-for the 'anonymous gifts,' carefully managed crusades, and similar tricks.

"the objective of our energy policy should not be to build more wind and solar generation capacity, but rather to cut CO2 emissions,"
Indeed.

"Wind and solar are just expensive ways to greenwash dependence on gas, which is why they are so lavishly promoted by Big Gas (and Big Oil – the same wells often extract both fossil fuels)."
I have heard similar reports.

"These NGOs are not serving the environment – they are serving their own backers in the fossil fuel industry."
I suppose they do serve the environment, but the realities of funding have their own effects on how they do so, and the extent.

Yet who can one support? The large groups have muscle; the quid pro quo they settle on is a 'greater good.' Smaller neighborhood NGOs can beat the large players in local zoning battles - blocking nuclear (or raising the cost), refraining from blocking other players, bribed and orchestrated but meaning well.

That too me is the tragedy of the Left: many who mean well pass judgment quickly (Hillary spoke at Goldman! She embraced the enemy!), assume their expertise in other fields translates universally - creating a propensity to persist in errors. One that is easily exploited by a different set, not actually 'right' - just 'self-interested' (and well-financed).

donzelion said...

Raito: "You do know that [Jill Stein] paid for a recount in WI, right? And the laws that allowed her to do so were then attacked by the GOP, under the thin excuse that since she couldn't possibly win, she had no standing to call for a recount. Which presupposes that the outcome of the recount is known."

I didn't know that. I do know how the laws allowing recounts are used, and challenged each time they're used, not necessarily by anyone who 'knows the outcome' - beyond the outcome that someone gets paid either way. Don't take lawyer's arguments (or politicians hired by other funders) as evidence for the propositions they raise; evidence to look for is probably going to be more subtle than that.

For the voting machines, while strict verification to block cheaters is important, I wouldn't expect to find many smoking guns there: a lazy, corrupt figure with power is more likely to use easier, less accountable cheats that tie into their existing infrastructure (drawing maps, not hacking voting machines). One who designs dense 'single family multi-unit housing blocks' will have impressive data one how the occupants will vote. No need to worry about tweaking the voting machines (and risking getting caught by a hacker you cannot control), when you can simply lump them into a neighboring district so their vote doesn't matter much (and map-drawing consultant as cheaper than ongoing bribes to electoral administrators - and known for their discretion).

A.F. Rey said...

Another tidbit I came across: there may be a good reason the lawyers were reluctant to present David's gerrymandering idea to the Supreme Court.

Apparently the Supremes are averse to mathematics.

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-supreme-court-is-allergic-to-math/

LarryHart said...

Robert (again) :

I wonder if any Republicans are left who are smart enough to retaliate with PELOSI IN 2019? (with the question mark).


Hmmm, is that actually a failure of vision on the part of the Founding Fathers? I mean, having the third in line be the one who decides whether or not to bring impeachment charges against the two ahead of him?

donzelion said...

Duncan: "Just think what would be happening with Hillary as POTUS"

-Garland instead of Gorsuch - DACA instead of gamesmanship (the folks who blame Obama for an 'immigration wave' are fact-averse) - no Muslim travel ban - no warmongering with Iran (for profit) - ACA subsidies to lower-middle class would continue being paid
-rules on emissions, controls on federal expenditures, a loooong host of other regulations which took years to prepare, then which sat until 2014 (when it became clear that those regulations would never become laws and could never be more than rules) - now, reversed...

"The problem with Trump is that he might destroy the country short-term before the long term even gets its pants on."
Sideshow Trump will distract the country endlessly: that distraction COULD hurt, but it alone will not destroy the country. A distracted person is easily fleeced, but few pickpockets are murderers.

Trump is the pinnacle of the Republican machinery behind the culture wars. Remember the 'Save Terry Schiavo Act'? Republicans once had to do significant work to discover 'culture war' battles to fight - but the effort was always about hamstringing the Executive to ensure free rein by the parasites. His program is not any set of legislative achievements or appointments - it is to perpetuate 'casino environment' - ongoing shows, food/drink, skimpy hostesses, beeps and whistles - noise that gets butts planted in front of machines that make the owners rich.

matthew said...

The full text of John McCain's thank you speech for the Liberty Medal he received last night.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/oct/17/john-mccain-nationalism-unpatriotic-liberty-medal-speech

"To fear the world we have organized and led for three-quarters of a century, to abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership and our duty to remain “the last best hope of earth” for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.

We live in a land made of ideals, not blood and soil. We are the custodians of those ideals at home, and their champion abroad. We have done great good in the world. That leadership has had its costs, but we have become incomparably powerful and wealthy as we did. We have a moral obligation to continue in our just cause, and we would bring more than shame on ourselves if we don’t. We will not thrive in a world where our leadership and ideals are absent. We wouldn’t deserve to."

donzelion said...

A.F. Rey: "Another tidbit I came across: there may be a good reason the lawyers were reluctant to present David's gerrymandering idea to the Supreme Court."

Approaches not unlike Dr. Brin's may have been presented - the sociologists who sent in amicus briefs claim to have applied hundreds of different models to draw maps. They are experts who've dedicated careers to considering these questions; claiming they never considered a model like his would require at least taking a look at their models first.
I haven't done so; he could (if he already did, he didn't refer to having completed that review).

Yet even if it is new, I am not sure that a 101st model would make a huge difference. The Court has to interpret laws - not science. The principle 'one person, one vote' is the basis for a number of court cases (simple math: 1 = 1), drawing from a rule "no state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

That wording matters, not the math. It was remedial - it was clear at the time it was drafted precisely which persons were denied 'equal protection of the laws' - whose contracts were breached without recourse, whose rents were changed, etc. Yet even then, it had limited meaning for a century - to claim a denial of 'equal protection,' you need far more than merely empirical evidence of discriminatory effects. The folks who drafted the rule this way designed ambiguity into the rule they adopted (self-interest, after all) - but to replace a 'bad rule' with a 'better rule' is the purpose of democracy.

Judges (even the most liberal, progressive, or radical judges) need some clear law to rely upon before they overrule legislators. They have clear evidence what legislators did: the scientists did their job to make the cheating clear (though a few judges, like Gorsuch, will grandstand and protest, most are brilliant folks with no science allergy). What's not so clear is if the conduct was illegal. Fine point, but the only point legal scholars are tasked with answering.

LarryHart said...

Is Steven Wright the only one who gets it? :

http://www.stonekettle.com/ (emphasis mine)


[Alabama Judge Roy] Moore was the leading voice of birthism, he is rabidly homophobic and anti-Muslim, and he spends a lot of his time hanging out with neo-Confederates – you know, people who actually and openly hate America and parade about under the flag of America’s enemies.

LarryHart said...

...Jim Wright, that is.

(Stephen Wright is a deadpan comedian from the 1980s.)

Berial said...

I knew something like that was coming from Jim Wright when he asked about the definition of 'Judeo-Christian values' on his Facebook page. I thought about answering but all I could really come up with was 'not Muslim' since otherwise they'd just say Abrahamic.

George Carty said...

I find the term "Judeo-Christian" odd given that Islam (like Christianity) is part of the Jesusian sub-clade of the Abrahamic religions, while Judaism is not. ;)

Zepp Jamieson said...

"Hmmm, is that actually a failure of vision on the part of the Founding Fathers? I mean, having the third in line be the one who decides whether or not to bring impeachment charges against the two ahead of him?"

Originally the vice president was whoever the runner up was in the general election. And the VP could then, as now, cast tie-breaker votes in the Senate.

LarryHart said...

Berial:

I thought about answering but all I could really come up with was 'not Muslim' since otherwise they'd just say Abrahamic.


It's a fairly recent phenomenon--within my adult lifetime--that Jews (and Catholics too) have been admitted as members of the club. Including "Judeo-" in the name is a way of saying "We don't hate you--just those atheist and Muslim leftists over there", as if atheists and Muslims have anything in common.

But maybe it's also an acknowledgement that the Old Testament is a recognized part of Christianity. In fact, that very Roy Moore is famous for wanting to post the Ten Commandments in his court, and they like to cite Leviticus as a reason to persecute homosexuals. Strangely enough, those Christians never talk about posting the Sermon on the Mount in public squares.

LarryHart said...

Zepp Jamieson:

Originally the vice president was whoever the runner up was in the general election. And the VP could then, as now, cast tie-breaker votes in the Senate.


You're talking to a "Hamilton" fan. I know who Thomas Jefferson's VP was, and how Aaron Burr was elected to that post.

But while the VP could theoretically cast the deciding vote in an impeachment that makes him president, he can't initiate the process. The Speaker of the House has more influence than anyone else in bringing an impeachment about--and being third in line, he has a personal stake in the decision.

Zepp Jamieson said...

OT alert!
They're back! ASU is having a second Cli-Fi contest, lead judge is Kim Stanley Robinson. I learned of the first one through Dr. Brin's blog and submitted not one, but two works of utter sublime genius. Somehow I was overlooked, so I'll be sure to enter again this year. For details, go to http://mailchi.mp/asu/climate-fiction-short-story-contest-1446493?e=f16343c2c6

Zepp Jamieson said...

"You're talking to a "Hamilton" fan."

I'm sorry to hear that. The Tigercats are not playing well at all.

No coincidence that the only two attempted removal of a president, both Presidents were Democrats, and the House (and thus the Speaker) were Republican.

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | The Speaker of the House has more influence than anyone else in bringing an impeachment about--and being third in line, he has a personal stake in the decision.

I have no doubt this was intentional with the VP as a weak hurdle who might support the first impeachment and block the second.

Checks and Balances. The Speaker represents The People better than the President if you think about how the Electoral College works. The House is our legislative body, after all. 8)

Alfred Differ said...

Okay. I don’t want to be mean to anyone in particular, but y’all are going to have to get over Stein, Nader, and so on. If the two primary parties can’t offer someone good enough to attract our social fringes, it isn’t the fault of voters who don’t want them. Yah. I know about pragmatism. I also know the franchise is supposed to mean something and that something is we get to point to who we want in an office. No one should expect to take that expectation without a fight from people like me.

I CAN be pragmatic, but no one gets to tell me I have to be for the social good. If I allow that from one I have to allow it from all, which includes the people you don't like. I simply disallow it.

Alfred Differ said...

@greg byshenk | Yah. That one rolls around on my iPod occasionally. ♪

What I liked most about that line was how the father obviously wasn't from a socially economically depressed group. That suggests a very large fraction of the next generation is doing what his son is doing now.

It's one thing to end the intentional wasting of intellect of a large group of people. It is another to lift the next generation beyond us all. The first is easy enough to see when we do it. The later doesn't get talked about enough... yet we are doing it. It isn't just light at the end of the tunnel. ☼

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

@LarryHart | The Speaker of the House has more influence than anyone else in bringing an impeachment about--and being third in line, he has a personal stake in the decision.

...

Checks and Balances. The Speaker represents The People better than the President if you think about how the Electoral College works. The House is our legislative body, after all. 8)


I'm not saying it's a bad idea in theory for the House to be in charge of impeachment. But in hindsight, I'm not sure it was a good idea to make the Speaker who brings impeachment third in line to personally take over the office. There's a bit of conflict of interest there.


If the two primary parties can’t offer someone good enough to attract our social fringes, it isn’t the fault of voters who don’t want them. Yah. I know about pragmatism. I also know the franchise is supposed to mean something and that something is we get to point to who we want in an office.


My complaint about third parties is that they don't work in the electoral system that we have. And that the almost-inevitable effect of supporting a third-party in a national election is that you end up with the major party candidate you least wanted. If the effect of that was only to punish the DNC, I'd see your point better, but when you yourself, people you care about, and all like-minded citizens end up worse off because you voted for a Russian agent--I mean because you thought that Hillary was no different from Trump, then it's not just "the two primary parties" who suffer.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "But maybe it's also an acknowledgement that the Old Testament is a recognized part of Christianity."

It is an 'odd' part of Christianity, subject to some pretty amazing reinterpretations. Abraham starts to kill his son - but the notion that mothers have a right to choose is Satanic. Abraham tells Pharaoh, "Sarah is my sister, not my wife! Go ahead and take her as a concubine." Say what? Abraham and Hagar (in either version of the story)...

Muslims tell the tales a bit closer to how Christians wish they were actually written. Perhaps that's why they're so hostile to Islam.

"those Christians never talk about posting the Sermon on the Mount in public squares."

Certainly not in courthouses. That whole 'do not swear' and 'anything more than Yes or No comes from the evil one' would make judges feel a little sheepish.

LarryHart said...

more on that Speaker thing...

Back when John Bohner was forced out, a recurring meme in the news was the notion that the Speaker of the House doesn't actually have to be a House member--that they can pick anyone in the universe to be Speaker. I don't read the Constitution that way at all, but it seemed to be accepted wisdom a year or two back.

So it that's true, then the House could have made anyone--say Judge Roy Moore--their Speaker. And then he'd be third in line for the presidency?

Jon S. said...

Section 2, paragraph 5 reads, "The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment." Read alone, that seems to say the Speaker can be literally anyone.

However, it seems pretty clear from context that the Speaker of the House is a member of the House of Representatives, and paragraph 1 says, "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."

That would seem to rule out the idea that just anybody (say, Roy Moore) could be selected as Speaker, unless of course he became a Member of the House first.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

Section 2, paragraph 5 reads, "The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment." Read alone, that seems to say the Speaker can be literally anyone.


Well, yeah, read alone they could make my cat Speaker.

However, it seems pretty clear from context that the Speaker of the House is a member of the House of Representatives,


I would think that goes without saying. But maybe that's just me.

David Brin said...

“There has always been a disturbing strand of anti-intellectualism in American life… but never has an occupant of the White House exhibited such a toxic mix of ignorance and mendacity, such lack of intellectual curiosity and disregard for rigorous analysis (despite his untested boast that his IQ is “one of the highest,” certainly higher than Obama’s and a host of other worthies’).”
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/10/12/trumps-war-on-knowledge/

“The experts are terrible,” Donald Trump said during his campaign. “Look at the mess we’re in with all these experts that we have.” … except, that it’s another lie. Almost every measure of national and international health, peace, prosperity etc has improved and guess what, the folks who know stuff actually know stuff.

Yes, America’s lower middle class has felt things slip. But the villains are the Rupert Murdochs and Donald Trumps who are rebuilding feudalism. Read this article! Then parse the right’s central mythos! It goes like this:

We all know that: "Just because someone is smart and knows a lot, that doesn't automatically make them wise."

But after 25 years of Fox hypnosis, this true statement has been twisted into something cancerous:

"Any and all people who are smart and know a lot, are therefore automatically unwise."

I am astonished it’s not been clearly and openly elucidated. The first statement is true. The second - jibbering loony - is now a core catechism of the confederacy.

Of course, blatantly, the average person who has studied earnestly and tried to understand is wiser (again, on AVERAGE) than those who deliberately chose to remain incurious and ignorant. When cornered, even the most vehement alt-righter admits that. But cornering them takes effort.

Hatred of universities and people with knowledge and skill now extends from the war on science to journalism, teaching, medicine, economics, civil servants… and lately the “deep state” conspiring villains of the FBI, the intelligence agencies and the U.S. military officer corps.

This bedlam serves one purpose, to discredit any “elites” who might stand in the way of a return to feudalism by the super rich, which was the pattern of 6000 years that America rebelled against.

The Confederacy has always been a tool to restore feudalism. only this time it has done what it could not do in the 1860s. Taken Washington.

Trump is not the disease, he is a surface symptom.

David Brin said...

Robert gets post of the day for one line that you have to think about to understand:

"GOP 1860-1995, RIP. Wish you were still around; I'd vote for you."

Wow. And it's true. 1995 was the Anno Mirabilis miracle year when Newt Gingrich actually negotiated with a Democratic president and legislated reasonable and useful things. He was punshied for it by the new leader of the GOP - Dennis "Fiend to boys" Hastert. And Newt decided to embrace the crazy.

Ah, locum the incurable romantic: "That said, I agree that barbarism is a GOOD thing because it possesses a masculine vitality that (cough) effete urbanity lacks as in the case of the barbaric former taking a blade to & resolving by force the very Gordian Knots that the civilised latter struggles to untangle in vain."

Oh har! So cries the cult that would never stand toe to toe, always using sucker punches, ambushes and snipers. The louder they yowl that they'll be top dogs after the apocalypse, the more you know that they are slob couch potatoes aho utterly reply on the civilization we built for them, and who would be kibble.

But romanticism ignores all fact. It is the confederate religion. And humanity's curse.

"You do know that banks no longer pay interest, don't you?
That they demand service charges, fees & penalties? "

YOUR plantation lords did this, silly confederate.

George C. "Wind and solar are just expensive ways to greenwash dependence on gas..."

Blah blah. It depends on how long the panels and turbines last. Your BS is obsolete, from when they only lasted 3 or 4 years. They pay off their fabrication costs easily in 3 years and yes, including the gas. And they have 20+ year lifespans now and are plummeting in cost, daily. Geez, what's it like back there in 1991?

Oh, ever heard of the techno liberals like Stewart Brand? Since all scientists have fled to the democratic party, that includes nuclear guys, and many of us pushed for R&D to restart nuclear as another option. It would have happened, if solar hadn't plummeted in cost, so fast.

As-is? We now seem 5 years from some kind of fusion breakeven. Ten years after that for power. If so (and I've been wrong before) then fission has a limited future.

But open the Nevada waste depository!

Alfred Differ said...

@LarryHart | Isn't conflict of interest necessary for checks and balances? Seems to me that IS the point. One person's ambition is set against another's.


you end up with the major party candidate you least wanted


Well... you might want to consider all the folks who do NOT vote as being similarly disinterested in the major party candidates. Those who vote for a third party get off their butts at least. Which would you rather see? Seems to me the effect is about the same since a null vote is just as much about NOT picking the pragmatic option. One you get to see and possibly complain about. The other is an anonymous abdication by one of our fellow citizens.

I know what I'd rather see.

George Carty said...

I wonder if Ralph Nader in 2000 was deliberately spoiling the election with the intention of securing a victory for Bush?

There is a strong case for arguing that Nader was looking out for Big Oil – not only was he a famous anti-nuclear-power activist, but he also made his name originally by attacking the Chevrolet Corvair, which was one of the most fuel-efficient American cars of its day.

In addition his parents were Lebanese immigrants who owned a restaurant with a largely Arab-American clientele – and while pre-Civil-War Beirut may have been notable primarily as a financial centre (the Civil War ultimately caused it to lose that crown to Dubai) it doesn't take a genius to work out where most of the money deposited in Beirut's banks originated. Nader himself noted that most of his political views were formed as a result of hearing the conversations inside that restaurant.

More recently, I wonder if Hillary Clinton's pro-nuclear turn had provided Putin and the OILigarchs with just that extra bit of impetus to ensure that she lost?

Blah blah. It depends on how long the panels and turbines last. Your BS is obsolete, from when they only lasted 3 or 4 years. They pay off their fabrication costs easily in 3 years and yes, including the gas. And they have 20+ year lifespans now and are plummeting in cost, daily. Geez, what's it like back there in 1991?

What are you saying here? Are you saying that renewables+gas are cheaper than nuclear? I'll give you that is probably the case (even though it is probably due to dysfunctional regulation of the nuclear industry, resulting from a kind of regulatory anti-capture*) but have you forgotten that this combination still emits CO2 while nuclear does not?

How much more expensive would renewables be if they had to rely on batteries or other energy storage to deal with the times when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining, rather than falling back on a convenient gas backup? It wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the energy storage dwarfed that of the solar panels or wind turbines themselves.

George Carty said...

Forgot to put this in my first message:

* Has any industry other than the nuclear industry collapsed or stagnated because its regulators were captured by a rival industry in the way that nuclear regulators were captured by fossil fuel interests?

locumranch said...


David could be quoting Alexis de Tocqueville when he quotes sources about the ever-present 'disturbing strand of anti-intellectualism in American life', 'a toxic mix of ignorance and mendacity' and the politics of Anti-Elitism --

It's called 'Democracy in America', remarkable for both its Populism and the anti-intellectual 'Will of the People', and it has always been this way since its creation as a reaction against supercilious Aristocratic egotism.

De Tocqueville said as much when he quipped that "Town-meetings are to liberty what primary schools are to science" and "Patriotism is most often nothing more but an extension of individual egotism".

He also railed against socialism and predicted that "The American Republic will endure (only) until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money."

Best

Catfish N. Cod said...

If bribery were the concept, locum's complaint would have merit. But consider an oblique perspective:

Gratitude for Invisible Systems

When we think about caring for our neighbors, we think about local churches, and charities—systems embedded in our communities. But I see these technological systems as one of the main ways that we take care of each other at scale. It’s how Americans care for all three hundred million of our neighbors, rich or poor, spread over four million square miles, embedded in global supply chains.

Locum sees only elitist, disdainful, insulting, potentially tyrannical sinister and unintelligible forces in these systems. But I see the Meteorology Broadcast program at Mississippi State University , where a large portion of the nation's local and national weather forecasters learn a complex, highly scientific, yet clearly public-serving trade. Does Locum think Jim Cantore, standing in yet another hurricane, is an oppressive force destroying his liberty? What of the 24-hour-serving schlubs at the National Hurricane Center who are feeding Jim their highly complex computer-model predictions -- predictions that save hundreds or thousands of lives every year?

Is that bribery? Does it require tearing down as "a reaction against supercilious Aristocratic egotism"?

I'm less concerned about bribing the public with the public's money. I'm more concerned about bribing the wealthy with the public's money, and the wealthy returning the favor. Just because wealthy Republicans talk to the rural public in terms they find more comfortable does not make them any more likely to act in the rural interest. Quite the opposite.

Only a small fraction of the intellectuals have betrayed you and your neighbors, locum. As a 'Berner' you must have met some of them; they are more concentrated on the further-left. If you were willing to focus on them, you would have some merit in your complaints. But you are betraying all the intellectuals when you support anti-intellectualist populism. Those sworn to serve can forgive you that. But you have taught them not to trust you.

Catfish N. Cod said...

Witness the State Department, whose ranks are being purged for a perceived 'elitism'. The result is the loss of other things de Tocqueville spoke of, indeed set up against his perception of socialism-as-serfdom: honor, virtue, generosity, and selflessness. Instead we dishonor our predecessors and ancestors by repudiating and questioning as many prior agreements as we can, just because we disliked their creators' politics; we seek instead short-term, selfish, and zero-sum advantage in our foreign affairs, where for us to win, others must lose. Our generosity has been replaced with ever-accelerating insecurity and associated inconsiderate miserliness, as with the new idea that even green card holders, already having passed multiple hurdles, must endure another background check to even have the chance to demonstrate virtue and selflessness in our armed forces.Meanwhile, even as the populists cloak themselves in the sanctified robes of oppression, they work assiduously to silence speech they disagree with.

Far from encouraging the virtues of a healthy individualist democracy, our current Administration and our current populism is assiduously working to destroy those virtues with their hands, even as their mouths speak their praise. Hear also what de Tocqueville spoke in the same speech in which he condemned centrally controlled socialism:

Finally, the French Revolution wished—and it is this which made it not only beatified but sainted in the eyes of the people—to introduce charity into politics. It conceived the notion of duty towards the poor, towards the suffering, something more extended, more universal than had ever preceded it. It is this idea that must be recaptured, not, I repeat, by substituting the prudence of the State for individual wisdom, but by effectively coming to the aid of those in need, to those who, after having exhausted their resources, would be reduced to misery if not offered help, through those means which the State already has at its disposal.

Yet it is exactly such means advocated by de Tocqueville which conservatives in the United States are forever attempting to place judgmental conditions upon (drug testing! background checks! skin in the game! T-bone steak welfare queens! abstinence-only!), substituting the prudence of the State for individual wisdom.

Enough.

matthew said...

Hmm, but Congress *isn't* bribing the public with public money. They are bribing the oligarchs with public money. Not the same thing, in fact the opposite thing. If they were bribing the public with public money, we'd have a heck of a lot more infrastructure spending.

Wrong again, loco.

LarryHart said...

Alfred Differ:

Well... you might want to consider all the folks who do NOT vote as being similarly disinterested in the major party candidates. Those who vote for a third party get off their butts at least. Which would you rather see? Seems to me the effect is about the same since a null vote is just as much about NOT picking the pragmatic option. One you get to see and possibly complain about. The other is an anonymous abdication by one of our fellow citizens.


What I'd like to see is something more resembling the allocation of delegates in the primaries when no one candidate has a majority--that the candidates get to trade and/or pool their votes. So, for example, if "Gore and Nader" together received more votes than Bush, Nader could (in exchange for certain concessions) give his votes to Gore and push him over 50%.

I can see some potential for mischief here, but on the surface, this would seem to reflect the will of the voters more than the current situation does. A vote for your favorite third party candidate would at least advance the cause of your preferred agenda, whereas in the current system, it makes it more likely that your least preferred candidate wins.

LarryHart said...

George Carly:

I wonder if Ralph Nader in 2000 was deliberately spoiling the election with the intention of securing a victory for Bush?


Even if he wasn't deliberately doing so, I'd bet that the special interests behind W gave him money and support, and played to his ego.

LarryHart said...

Catfish N. Cod:

Just because wealthy Republicans talk to the rural public in terms they find more comfortable does not make them any more likely to act in the rural interest. Quite the opposite.


I've been trying to make that very point for years now. Even from loc's rural perspective, The Republican Party is not the solution to the problem; the Republican Party is the problem.

Catfish N. Cod said...

@George Carty: How much more expensive would renewables be if they had to rely on batteries or other energy storage to deal with the times when the wind isn't blowing or the sun isn't shining, rather than falling back on a convenient gas backup? It wouldn't surprise me if the cost of the energy storage dwarfed that of the solar panels or wind turbines themselves.

Of course it does, at present; that's why those storage units are not yet at market. Research does not always come up with answers at the rate we wish.

Heinlein postulated the effects of having cheap, simple, convenient high-density energy storage: a "Shipstone" (in some stories, named for its inventor). It was revolutionary (and its trade secret led to a corporate hydraulic despotism, in the story). We currently have nothing that rivals biological hydrocarbon energy storage -- fossil fuels or biolipids0 -- in energy density per volume, though 700-bar hydrogen gas manages the trick in energy density per mass.

This suggests that a closed-cycle carbon system is likely one of, if not the primary, means of achieving high-density storage. How to do so economically at the scale of the power grid is left as an exercise for the student.

@David, @Robert: Yes, 1995 and the original Gingrich platform was the last time I actively and openly supported a Republican party platform. Even campaigned for it. I was rewarded with government shutdowns and betrayal on every level, with Newt expelled to the hinterlands in favor of obstructionism and witch-hunting (Clinton deserved censure for his disgraceful personal conduct, but the impeachment was about five steps too far). I have never forgotten, and the GOP has never shown the slightest remorse, nor changed in the ideological purge-friendly attitude that has led us to today. To Gingrich, nasty politics was a means to an end. Today, the GOP considers nastiness towards despised political enemies to be the core of the party: hence election of a man for whom nasty treatment of rivals is the core of his soul.

And back to locum again: You know, the Europeans considered the British and Americans repeatedly to be effete urbanites. Remember "a nation of shopkeepers"? The Confederacy was convinced that its martial elan was superior to that of the more urbanized Union. Hitler thought us too commercial to fight, though Yamamoto knew better. They all learned otherwise.

We are your cousins, most of us. Yes, even those with higher levels of melanin. And of those we've taken in -- you really think Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, Filipinos, Mexicans, Central Americans -- don't know how to fight? How to take and give orders? You applaud your barbarian tendencies -- and think we aren't barbarians?

You're underestimating us again.

@David: Polywell. Polywell. Polywell. ITER may "work" but the interminable effort has convinced me it's not worth the trouble. Whereas Bussard-Farnsworth has gone from strength to strength, and is (mirable dictu!) portable. You could build a tank or a small ship around a polywell fusion reactor, as opposed to a fission plant (which requires an aircraft carrier). And it would totally destroy military reliance on fossil fuels for any application but high-performance aircraft. Ending the Navy contract was a colossal mistake, but if we can get polywell working before the other Great Powers, a whole new world opens.

David S said...

LarryHart,

I too believe in a reallocation of unviable votes. However, I think the voter should designate where their vote should go (and not the candidate). So all those to voted Stein or Nader can specify where their vote should go when their candidate doesn't get enough votes to win the election.

raito said...

Dr. Brin,

"Trump is not the disease, he is a surface symptom."

You keep saying this. But this statement will never convince anyone who thinks that he is the disease because it doesn't argue from their point of view.

It might be better to state "Trump is a disease. A secondary infection brought on by (all that other stuff)".

That way you don't start out by disagreeing with the people you're talking to.

As for solar, for me at least, it's showing about 22 years for it to pay itself off, even with the tax rebate.

And was 'fiend to boys' a Freudian slip?

LarryHart said...

David S:

I too believe in a reallocation of unviable votes. However, I think the voter should designate where their vote should go (and not the candidate).


I understand the concept of iterative voting (or whatever the kids are calling it these days), but the reason I prefer the delegate-like solution is that it allows active horse-trading for votes. Your way allows protest votes, but is essentially going to end up with your vote going to the major party candidate you prefer (or you least dislike) anyway. My way allows votes for the same "natural" coalition to be combined in exchange for platform planks, which seems to reflect "will of the voters" more than the current system.

I'm not claiming my way is objectively better than yours; just pointing out the differences.

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