Saturday, April 28, 2018

Seeing what should be (but isn’t, alas) obvious


= No, we will do the choosing ==

Earlier, I posted a lengthy critique of an issue of the economics newsletter published by my friend, John Mauldin. In a separate newsletter, another friend (of very different political persuasion) Mark Anderson of the Strategic News Service offers an interesting comparison. Very thought-provoking, and your reaction will be very telling.

“Imagine that it is Orwell's 1984, and you live under the most repressive regime on the planet. One day the dictator, Big Brother (remember that wonderful Apple ad?), announces that all citizens will be forced to carry a device that tells the police state everything about them. No one will be spared. There are protests and uprisings, people are jailed, dissenters form rebel groups, geeks find ways to spoof the technology, proxies get on TV and talk about the benefits of sharing everything as a good citizen. A few are shot up against a wall.
“Or, alternatively, imagine you are in the freest nation on the planet. A brilliant entrepreneur (who looks just like Steve Jobs) invents a magical new gadget that does all these cool things, and you can buy one today. Good consumers spend up to $1,000 just to have one, and pretty soon just about everyone does.
“What's the difference between these two scenarios? The main difference is likely a higher take-up rate in the free country and less concern about what these devices are up to.”
I do wish I could share these newsletters with you folks! The business types among you should get company subscriptions! (And how I am tempted to start my own.)

As for Mark’s scenario – in which free citizens ironically choose the same level of self-exposure as in an Orwellian state, through social media self-indulgence -- it was a clever and apt thought experiment... up to a point. Mark showed what should be blatantly obvious -- that there will be no hiding information from elites.

To which I must answer: so? 

That has never been the issue. No human society ever blinded its elites. European efforts to do this - while well-intended - are delusional, in light of wildly proliferating systems like facial recognition. 

Seriously, what's the prescription? Going off-grid? Given the Moore's Law of Cameras, that's utterly futile.

Fortunately, what elites know about us is not the issue.  It never was the issue.  It never, ever will be the issue. It is a distraction from the real issue.

The difference between Mark Anderson’s fictional Orwellian state (or real life China) and a nation of the truly free is not what elites can know about you, but what they can do to you. And that difference is night vs. day.  

Think about why most Americans are not paranoid about all this self-expression.  The patronizing reflex is to assume our fellow citizens are fools. (Well, there's been some evidence for that; we'll see.) But in fact, they do it because they feel safe. And only one thing is responsible for that sense of safety. A general assumption that if powers try to harm them, citizens will have recourse to both light and law.

The crux is this. We can limit what the mighty DO to us only if we can detect, record and deter harmful actions. That's what matters. And it happens not by futilely trying to hide, but by assertively demanding to see. It is the whole purpose for the most under-appreciated amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the wonderful Sixth, that empowers citizens with recourse to the Truth. 

That recourse to light and accountability is not going away! 2013 was the best year for civil liberties in the U.S. in three decades, because that year all branches of the federal government avowed a citizen’s right to record his or her interactions with police. Our wretched-dour media never gave this the attention it deserved – a critical milestone demarking the true difference between America and Oceania, or “Sesame Credit” China.

That is the difference. In Orwellian societies, the Telescreen only looks in one direction, not at Big Brother.  And note that every tyrant seeks, above all, to be safe from the accountability that comes with light. Signs abound, across the planet, that they are laser focused on shutting it down.

It's now been 20 years since The Transparent Society, and I sink into despair over how simple -- yet utterly un-intuitive -- this blatant fact appears to be.  Folks nod their heads and say: "yeah, I get that." Then they go back to hand-wringing about how Zuckerberg or the Deep State is "looking at me!" Never offering a plausible way to stop it, but always talking about hiding. Instead of picking up the one thing that ever made us free...

...the saber of light.

== The blatancy of the Korean “problem” ==

Another area where I impudently declare that I see something others don’t… something that should be “obvious,” is the dilemma of North Korea. 

Okay, here I am on shakier ground, and it’s not a matter of certainty as being willing to take odds in a wager.  Example: I’ll take 3:1 on an imminent and utterly contrived “Tonkin Gulf Incident” leading to a trumped-up U.S. war vs. Iran – a Potemkin/fake “war” with only one conceivable-foremost winner… but all the world’s tyrants doing great.

I’ve spoken less about Pyongyang and the Kim regime. And in what follows, I think it's important to consider thoughts that are outside the standard narrative. (My specialty! But it also means my successful predictions (there are many) are laced with some real howler errors!)

Let’s launch from this quotation I found in the Global Post:  "Whether this imaginative approach — rooted in Korea’s historic strategy of fending off its dominant neighboring powers of China and Japan by aligning with distant powers — is any more realistic than the U.S. expectation of denuclearization"

Okay, let’s dive in:

1. Much is made of Kim's nukes as a deterrence against attempted regime change. But he had that already, with 10,000 artillery tubes aimed at Seoul. The city could be flattened in one hour. No, the biggest reason he needs nukes is because - after the first few -- they are cheap!  

With a dozen safely deployable nuclear weapons, he can justify slashing his ginormously expensive army and possibly save his economy.

Hence, I will take wagers on this: Trump will get a "terrific deal" that grandfathers ten or twenty North Korean nukes in exchange for massive troop cuts on both sides of the DMZ, proclaiming this as a "concession".  When in fact it will be a win-win-win for Kim.

2.  I cannot begin to imagine why every pundit simply accepts at face value the notion that the Kim regime is independent of foreign control. In 1955 there were a million Chinese troops in North Korea.  The 1956 Hungarian revolt rocked both Moscow and Beijing, who doubled down on multi-layered controls over their satrapies, while creating potemkin "local governments" that they utterly regulated.

I am not proclaiming utter belief that Kim is a puppet of his big neighbor. But I am appalled that the very possibility goes unremarked and never even seems to occur to anyone!  When it is the simplest hypothesis under Occam's Razor.

All we have to the contrary are stories and shows.  Dig it: all the brattiness and uncle-killing etc has nothing to do with real power. Ponder how rapidly the Kim regime acquired both nukes (and H Bombs) and ICBMs.  Something isn't fishy? Beijing's "complaints" have always been toothless.

Why would Beijing want this?  

Ponder. The North Korean regime would offer a way to bloody the west -- e.g. via an EMP strike -- while retaining deniability and hence protection from retaliation.  This is exactly what's done by China commercially, via supposedly independent zaibatsu companies.

I don't expect to convince you of this theory... I am not convinced of it, myself!  But the tunnel vision of our punditry -- its inability to even consider the logical possibility -- is something disturbingly common in modern group-think nowadays. Even among very smart people. Alas.

Well... I try...

149 comments:

Anonymous said...

I concur re open society and hadn’t thought about six in that way but you are correct. Would be curious about what Mauldin and Andersons difrent takes were?

Mitchell said...

Hello from the Australian sector of Oceania. It's interesting to hear this different emphasis on how to preserve human freedom.

You're a writer. If someone were able to see your half-written work, they could steal it and plagiarize it.

There are many similar examples in our competitive world, where a person's edge depends on being able to keep their work secret from prying eyes, until the time comes to make it public.

Have you addressed this sort of issue? Is this a type of privacy which must be defended simply by keeping it private, or can the ability to monitor and deter the elite suffice to defend what needs defending in this case?

David Brin said...

Mitchell thanks for perfectly illustrating my frustration.You are clearly very intelligent and deeply concerned... and simply blind to the answer. Unable to see, to even perceive THAT you do not see.

Please. Try. Try to answer your own question. I laid it out. I laid it out in great clarity and detail. I have faith in you. Try. If you do have the "aha!" moment, I promise it will be stunning.

Anonymous said...

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gmoke said...

I remind people on the phone that the NSA is still listening, so is Rupert Murdoch and now, G@d help us, Donald Trmp.

If the Eye of Sauron is already on me, I might as well look back with my own saber of light and blind the bugger with my reflection of his own beam.

David Brin said...

Oy, gmoke, you too. You have the right tool, and absolutely no clue how to use it. You are still talking about "blinding" elites. You... just... don't... get... it. Please, please. Try again. Think. How do you use light. What does light do, that might inconvenience the mighty.

Try.

Paul Teich said...

Collecting data is only a start. Without a capability to analyze said data in somewhat near realtime, the collector can only focus on individuals after they have been deemed "interesting." Plus, analyzing behavioral data is still labor-intensive and experience-intensive. But, state-of-the-art in automated analytics is advancing rapidly. Within a few years, it won't even need people in the loop--automated analysis will figure out who and what is "interesting" without human intervention: https://medium.com/@TIRIAS_Research/automating-1984s-ministry-of-truth-7f7b59ecad3c

Lorraine said...

If automated interestingness recognition is only a few years away, it's probably already too late to implement pubwan :-(

In the aftermath of the 9/11 pretext event, there was a lot of talk in the media to the effect of the CIA (and similar <strike>above-the-law</strike>professional protector caste organizations) having a "fire hose of data" problem. Even then I was saying stuff like "so crowdsource it." That was back when "crowdsourcing" (like "sharing economy" and a number of other terminologies most people seem to think are newer) were still bandied about mostly by open source activist types, cooperation-over-competition types, and the like. If the purpose were to act as effectively as possible on actionable data, they would have. Clearly keeping secrets from their own country's public is more central to their mission.

I keep forgetting what page it's on but in Transparent Society there's a 2x2 square representing the cartesian of institutions {having, not-having} advanced data capabilities and the public {having, not-having} them. Whichever (was it 3rd?) quadrant corresponds to {having, not-having} seems to me more and more each year to be baked into the cake. Photographing the police is just the tip of a very large iceberg of regular people practices that have to catch on in order for a shot as escape from the mirror shades quadrant, the panopticon quadrant, the information asymmetry quadrant.

What is needed is pocket devices that collect user behavioral data as aggressively as current generation mobile phones do, but dump said data into the public domain rather than into proprietary databases run by industries that are very aggressive about guarding their own trade secrets. Technologically it's as simple as a phone that does the exact same things only using open source software. But unfortunately everything is framed as a privacy issue, so it won't happen.

Russell Osterlund said...

"With a dozen safely deployable nuclear weapons, he can justify slashing his ginormously expensive army and possibly save his economy."

What is Kim going to do with the millions of "pampered" elites from his ginormous army - turn swords into plowshares? I don't think it will be as simple as that. The transition to a different society is likely to be as dangerous as any threat now - he is riding the tiger and may be unable to get safely off.

My greater fear is that such a development will be turned into a "win" by UnObama and just enough of the American public will buy into it and support another four years of our national nightmare. My memories of the "Axis of Evil" and how it led our group-think into an unjustified attack on Iraq are fresh and vivid. We need to think of a strategy that stops this repetition of history immediately in its tracks and keep the focus on where our country is headed if we let it.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/27/opinions/trump-diplomacy-ghitis/index.html

Anonymous said...


Russell Osterlund

Donald Trump's negotiation with the North Koreans is like that of a senile drunk at the beginning and then, Donald, in the second phase of the negotiation, acts like a pervert inviting the victim to dinner.
Is there anyone on the planet who takes the senile buffoon seriously?
The image of the US government is being torn apart. (It's funny that the Americans can not do anything about it) Even Harvey Weinstein could win through electoral fraud and the Americans would not do anything about it!
But what happens are historical events that future generations of a utopian world will look with the same curiosity with which we read about the era of Emperor Caligula and Nero.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

It just occurred to me that perhaps my idea of severely punishing serial killers could be interpreted as a hateful comment towards the minority of serial killers .... I had not thought of something like that ... One moment ... We had talked about this before! ...

Winter7

Anonymous said...

Paul Teich:
If we are listening to engineers who are experts in electronic security; advanced computer programming; telecommunications; benign hackers; etc. Your knowledge is very valuable. Their lists of recommendations to make the oligarchs transparent would be very valuable information for the descendants of the founding fathers.
In fact. That information is the most valuable thing that a generation can come to possess.
The fate of humanity is at stake. And more.
Winter7

Anonymous said...

Doctor Brin:
I just read in the internet news, that Mike Pompeo is touring east to organize an attack on Iran. ¡You were right, David! ¡And you figured it out long in advance! Awesome.

Winter7

Gregory Byshenk said...

From the last post...

Winter7
The issue is that what is the goal of the action. If, indeed, someone acts in order to silence complaints or neutralize resistance, then, yes, they are engaging in 'terrorism'. If there is no other goal than to kill people that someone despises, then it it not terrorism, but only murder.

Larry Hart wrote:
To me, what makes a violent act "terrorism" is not that it's political, but that a larger group than the particular victims is "terrorized" by knowing that more such attacks will be forthcoming, maybe against them. If your white supremacist simply hated some individuals who happened to be black, and he killed those individuals, then yes, I'd agree with what you say. But if he hates black people, and by killing some, he's putting the rest on notice that he might well kill them next--I think that's the very essence of terrorism.

But that seems in conflict with the "standard" definition of 'terrorism', which is something like "The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence against individuals or property in an attempt to coerce or intimidate governments or societies to achieve political, religious or ideological objectives".

The issue here is that 'terrorism' is (at least generally) used to refer to the use of terror for some purpose: to cause people to do something - or not do something - that the 'terrorist' wants. That can mean lots of different things, from "pull out of Northern Ireland" to "freedom for the Basque people", to many others, but the important thing is that is has some purpose and is not merely terror for its own sake. The idea is that, if you do what the terrorist wants, then the terrorism will stop. Without any other goal, then actions by individuals (or even groups) are no different than random acts of violence.

In this, terrorism works (at least in theory; in practice it never seems to be very succesful) a bit like extortion. That is: "if you don't pull out of NI, then this will continue - but if you do, then it will stop". Similarly to: "if you pay up, then we won't come and wreck your business."

Paul451 wrote:
They aren't trying to convince women to date them, any more than a radicalised Muslim is trying to convert the infidels to Islam when bombing crowds. The "social influence" they are trying to achieve is to 'punish the enemy', to sow terror.

But even as you write that, you note that there is an "enemy", and thus the goal is in some way to defeat that enemy, or at least in some way alter the enemy's actions. That might be "stop supporting Israel", "don't attack ISIS", or any one of a number of things, but it is still something beyond just blowing people up.

Anonymous said...


Gregory Byshenk:
You forget that the fact that every supremacist who has killed people has done so because a supremacist group of terrorists continually incited them to do so for years. If it was not an act ordered at that time by the leadership of the supremacists, that is irrelevant.
Many of the terrorist acts carried out in Europe were acts perpetrated by people incited by terrorist groups. They were not terrorists sent from Afghanistan or Pakistan. The perpetrators were people incited to hate through the Internet. Exactly the same thing that white supremacist groups do directly: incite racial hatred, for years, to children, youth and adults.

Winter7

Anonymous said...


Gregory Byshenk:
Conclusion .: White supremacist groups; The Ku Klux Klan and the Nazis are terrorist groups. If the members of these groups have infiltrated the police and government posts, to block any action against these groups, then that is a serious problem. Because the US government is allowing the existence of terrorist groups in US territory. If I were a decent Republican politician; I would never seek the support of a group of terrorists who are part of the national folklore. Never.

Winter7

donzelion said...

The law is only a useful tool when we use it the way it actually works, not the way we wish it works. A hammer makes a lousy screwdriver, and a worse prism. If we're exceptionally skilled, we might figure out how to use one tool to do something other than it was originally designed to do - but if we're not, we're liable to frustrate our purposes, and occasionally, even break our tools.

As a lawyer, if I tell you, "We need photon bombs to stop these guys! Here's how I think they should work..." - you might chuckle, and bemusedly suggest I learn how photons work first, what they are, what our tools actually do - before proposing how to use them. I might scream at that - denounce you as arrogant (when in fact, I am the one being arrogant in this setting, assuming in my ignorance I know as much as others who've studied in detail) - eventually, I'd have to sheepishly acknowledge you were right, and my speculation about alternative possibilities isn't much help without putting in a lot of work to make them real.

So it goes with the 6th Amendment: it is indeed crucial - if a person is charged with a crime. The powers that be erected the system to make that unlikely. They didn't build their fortunes by charging others with crimes, or fighting charges themselves: usually, their power resulted from exploiting hidden value (or inducing others to pay the price for them to access that value). We need other tools - legal, technological, social - to restrain the power that makes people into powers.

I have deep reservations about the power of light here - but begrudgingly concede that I know no better tool. However, our 'saber of light' is peculiar - unlike Lucas's magic sword, the device that converts 'chosen' farm boys instantly into superheroes - ours works when wielded by many hands standing together, focusing in the right direction. If I can help you focus yours, I'd direct your attention to more promising tools - the 1st, 2nd, and many other amendments are more promising still (and no matter how much evidence of innocence exists in an omni-recorded universe, we'll need counselors who know how to get the light where it's needed before it will do us any good).

In that vein, the 2nd is the most interesting: few conceive of 'light' as the sort of 'arms' we need to 'bear' to remain free: and fewer still conceive of the role of a 'well-regulated militia' in ensuring that 'light' is used for its intended purposes.

Anonymous said...



More consequences of Donald Trump's actions:

https://www.rt.com/usa/425260-us-adversaries-disrupt-communication-syria/

Winter7

donzelion said...

Russell: "My greater fear is that such a development will be turned into a "win" by UnObama and just enough of the American public will buy into it and support another four years of our national nightmare."

Mine too.

One place I'd suggest shining light upon is in corners of America where folks benefit from oil leases (and leveraged trading upon them) - the leases which are valued at $X is oil stays at <$100/barrel, and at $Y if oil sells at >$100/barrel.

In my corner of America (Orange County, California), those structures are uncommon. Elsewhere, superstructures are in place linking entire church/fast-food/retail mall/hotel/telecom/finance so that one tweak in the numbers will result in windfalls to others in the network.

It's hard to see into Iraq, Iran, or N. Korea: but we don't really have to. The beneficiaries of our foreign policy are HERE: their secret profits from war are hidden by design. (It's also helpful this way: whether there's war or not in Iran, Saudis will buy American missiles to hit Yemeni Houthis - many of those missiles are now built in Kansas...follow the money, not the hype.)

David Brin said...

At last, the obvious meme! I am tepid about this messenger... except compared to the horrid Mess he leaves behind. Mind you, there are private discussions going on right now, among Residually And Marginally Sane republican pols (RAMS) who may be doing this soon, in a more coordinated way.

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/politics/john-kasich-state-of-the-union-cnntv/index.html

David Brin said...

Interesting thoughts from donzelion re interpreting the 2nd amendment to include cameras. But no, the 6th is no longer restricted to the courtroom. Like all rights it has expanded, it just needs to do a lot more expanding.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: to your aside on N. Korea - "I am not proclaiming utter belief that Kim is a puppet of his big neighbor."

The possibility has occurred to many, but Occam's Razor cuts the opposite direction: until we see evidence of strings, we refrain from judgment about whether they exist or not. The lack of evidence does not itself prove anything. Ever. Is that not 'the way of the forceful' fact user?

"Ponder how rapidly the Kim regime acquired both nukes (and H Bombs) and ICBMs."
This is roughly 60+ year old technology; they know it is possible because others have done it; they've been working more than 20 years to do it. Getting nukes in 1-3 years? Suspicious. In 20+? Hmmm...

Chinese MAY have assisted N. Koreans - or they may not. Until we have evidence, we withhold judgment.

Now China really could see benefits for N. Korean missiles targeting Seoul, Tokyo, and America - their interpretation of the risk is profoundly different from our own. Again, Occam's Razor is helpful: we should never assume Chinese 'partners' have the same interest in restraining N. Korea that we and our allies have.

"I don't expect to convince you of this theory... I am not convinced of it, myself!"
What good is a theory with no evidence to support it?

But one thing about the punditry: the folks financing them have many different reasons, sometimes wanting pundits to 'chime along with the group' to establish their credentials, other times wanting them to dissent on some useful message. We ought to shine spotlights on their financiers. Often, their incentives are not aligned with getting out the truth, so much as developing an potentially lucrative echo chamber.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps John Kasich is pretending that he is no longer a Republican, but is it really a trick of the Republicans to continue in the White House despite the disaster created by Donald Trump? Because in Mexico, that's a very old trick.
The political customs in Latin America could be studied with great care by the American universities. (without forgetting to explain to the students, that these political customs are something inadmissible, of course)

Winter7

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "the 6th is no longer restricted to the courtroom. Like all rights it has expanded, it just needs to do a lot more expanding."

Every expansion of one 'right' carries an equal and opposite retraction of some other 'right.' The law itself is always a zero sum game: the society we build based upon the law is not.

Words like 'well-regulated militia' or 'equal protection of the law' can be neutered if their well-meaning proponents misuse them; they can even be subverted to purposes other than those underlying their original wording (e.g., 'equal protection' protected corporations/trusts generations before it helped the heirs of liberated slaves). That is what is at stake if we apply the 6th outside its textual, legal place.

The 6th is too important for us to misuse! Claims invoking the 6th to defend rights to record have been heard, and mostly ignored: without law, they lack any basis for consideration or expansion. The phrase "in all criminal prosecutions" is NOT dead letter: it limits the scope of every subsequent right in that amendment, and so long as we are not charged, the rights are hypothetical (but crucial).

But the 2nd? It's already unmoored. It's partisans rendered 'well regulated militia' a nullity: in the process, they gave us the basis we need to expand upon, all while following the rules. Right now, they allocated those rights in such a way as to prevent laws restricting the ability for psychopaths to acquire exceptionally deadly arms until they're proven to actually be a psychopath (which usually occurs after they've killed a number of bystanders). They undermined it themselves; warped the meaning of the words already: and we can use their own error against them.

And to be honest, every time you refer metaphorically to a 'light saber' - you're already doing so. We do not need or want light sabers to strike down criminal prosecutions. We want light to defend against abusers, not just when we're threatened with prison, but at all times. If light is the weapon of choice, then defend it AS A WEAPON, not just in one important context (criminal prosecutions, and related administrative affairs), but in all others.

David Brin said...

“The possibility has occurred to many, but Occam's Razor cuts the opposite direction: until we see evidence of strings, we refrain from judgment about whether they exist or not.”

NO “evidence of strings???” Who on Earth could acquire H Bombs and ICBMs with virtually no visible effort? Why would China have given up control of its neighbor, in the aftermath of the 1956 Hungarian revolt which made the USSR clamp down on all of its satrapies? You, sir, are the one frantically evading Occam’s Razor.

“What good is a theory with no evidence to support it?”

Gadzooks, putting aside that the theory fits observed facts VASTLY better than standard-reflex dogma, there’s the fact that what-if scenario positing is standard sane tradecraft.

Gawd you are on a roll, sire. Like the following drivel-nonsense:

“Every expansion of one 'right' carries an equal and opposite retraction of some other 'right.' The law itself is always a zero sum game: the society we build based upon the law is not.”

Oy… you were briefly cogent there. Oh, my.

LarryHart said...

Greg Byshenk:

The issue here is that 'terrorism' is (at least generally) used to refer to the use of terror for some purpose: to cause people to do something - or not do something - that the 'terrorist' wants. That can mean lots of different things, from "pull out of Northern Ireland" to "freedom for the Basque people", to many others, but the important thing is that is has some purpose and is not merely terror for its own sake. The idea is that, if you do what the terrorist wants, then the terrorism will stop. Without any other goal, then actions by individuals (or even groups) are no different than random acts of violence.


Ok, but in the case of incels, they are trying to make people do something. They insist that women give them sex and that societal laws not forbid them from taking it. In the case of KKK and the like, they want blacks or other minorities to either shut up and take second-class citizenship or else self-deport.

donzelion said...

"Who on Earth could acquire H Bombs and ICBMs with virtually no visible effort?"

N. Korea's effort has been documented, monitored, and known about for a long time; traces go back to 1956. Hans Blix griped loudly, publicly about N. Korea's plutonium stockpiles in 1996; the US had others who screamed even louder. Indeed, thousands of engineers, analysts, scientists, satellite operators, and intelligence officers have analyzed and watched this exact development for decades. Pyongyang was accused of launching it's first 'ICBM test' (N. Korea called it a 'satellite') in 1998. Twenty years of constant work that has been documented and observed is hardly 'no visible effort.'

Now all these folks may have missed a 'secret Chinese hand.' It could be the Chinese are so much better at hiding their work than the Pakistanis or Indians proved to be. The possibility cannot be ruled out. But without evidence, it's just a possibility.

"Why would China have given up control of its neighbor, in the aftermath of the 1956 Hungarian revolt which made the USSR clamp down on all of its satrapies?"
Apparently, in 1956, they tried (the 'August Incident'). Only reports I know of suggest Soviet-Chinese relations over Korea were fraught almost from the beginning, but it looks like they both tried to meddle, and Kim Il Sung beat them. Test the theory: did N. Korea's subsequent conduct fit with a 'puppet' theory, or a 'loose cannon' theory? Amass evidence. Make your case.

"there’s the fact that what-if scenario positing is standard sane tradecraft."
The role of "what-if" scenarios in intelligence tradecraft tends to be along these lines:

"OK, we have plausible theories A, B, and C - anything else? Alright, fit the evidence to the theories and assign probabilities for each." Theories D, E, F + etc. get floated, then set aside until evidence suggests moving them up. Intelligence is always ultimately about evidence. (For an excellent historical approach to the subject, I'd again recommend Dr. Liulevicius at thegreatcourses.com).

donzelion said...

As for the point about how law works (and has to work), well, ignore as you wish. Like science, law is hypercompetitive. Test your theory in the field, see how it goes. As with my photon bomb example, you can learn these things yourself.

But my intent is to help you, not to mock you. I like the idea of sabers of light.

locumranch said...


Demonstrating the limits of transparency & the relative Ineffectiveness of 'light' as a cure for dishonesty, David's assessment of North Korea's LACK of agency & the PRC's complicity in North Korean behaviour is as ill-advised as it is accurate.

To borrow Larry_H's question: Now that we know that the PRC & North Korea are liars, what do we know?

We know that human beings are prone to telling falsehoods & lies; we know that most lying humans are motivated by self & selfish interests; we know that human liars who are motivated by self & selfish interest are boringly predictable; and we know that predictable individuals are often considered trustworthy.

Ergo, we must conclude that lying liars who are predictably motivated by self-interest are essentially HONEST because trustworthiness is a common synonym for both truth & honesty, especially when we assume transparency to be the equivalent of truth & honesty. And who is more truthful than the transparent liar? Can you say Trump?

In contrast, those individuals who are NOT motivated by self-interest (but are motivated by abstractions, ideals & idiosyncratic moral posturing) are also unpredictable, untrustworthy & must therefore be considered DISHONEST; hence the old saying about never trusting an honest man.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDbx1uArVOM

As was the case in Michelle Wolf's foul-mouthed, ill-conceived & racially-motivated hate speech at last night's White House correspondents' dinner. Repetitively, this so-called comedian called Trump & his administration 'liars' of the most consistent & predictable variety, inadvertently invoking the Liar's Paradox and proving that Trump & his administration are simultaneously transparent, truthful & trustworthy, in an effective sense, just like the North Korean government & the PRC.


Best

David Brin said...

What a pile of deeply immoral, rationalizing, double-speak, forked-tongue drivel.
I am sure glad these text zones cannot carry the stench of vile character.

---

Mind you, Michelle Wolf and those who selected her were imbecillic examples of harridans who give the Fox-villains anecdotal examples to point at. The far-left contains some choice cretins, all right. But CONTAINS is not the same things at CONSISTS. And "far" left is different from "entire" right.

locumranch said...



Agreed. Michelle Wolf and those who selected her were imbecillic examples of harridans who give the Fox-villains anecdotal examples to point at. Because reciprocity. Because Newton's third law. Because her monologue was in clear violation of progressive Hate Speech statutes that forbid communication that is hateful, threatening, or abusive, and targets a person on account of disability, ethnic or national origin, nationality (including citizenship), race, religion, sexual orientation, or skin colour. The penalties for hate speech include fines, imprisonment, or both. The failure to prosecute will either result in the destruction of said progressive hate speech statutes or the destruction of its progressive creators. Because TRANSPARENCY and the purifying qualities of light. And fire. Especially fire.


Best

donzelion said...

Locum: "...her monologue was in clear violation of progressive Hate Speech statutes that forbid communication that is hateful, threatening, or abusive, and targets a person on account of disability, ethnic or national origin, nationality (including citizenship), race, religion, sexual orientation, or skin color."

I'm unaware of such statutes. Last I checked, the 1st amendment banned them all (that's the dreaded ACLU defending rights for the KKK to march back in Brandenburg v. Ohio, 1969). How dare those progressives spend time and money defending hate speech by the precise folks who hate them! Well, they've been doing it a loooong time.

Anonymous said...

The Jedi concept of "lightsaber" is inspiring. But I suppose you would have preferred that instead of the phrase "lightsaber" the word "reflector" be used as a metaphor. When you go hunting, you daze the deer with the lights of a reflector while you fine-tune to ... To take a good picture of the Donald Trump deer, at the moment that is doing some dirty with a poor and naive trainee ... That's the essence of the lightsaber. (or the light reflector).
Freemen of North America. On your shoulders rises the fate of humanity. Be worthy of the legacy of the founding fathers.

(Si, es en serio, pero no he explicado mas el concepto porque debo dejar hablar al resto de la comunidad) (Hooo, el bello idioma de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. Es irónico que teniendo tan bello idioma, los hispanos no lean libros):

Winter7

Mitchell said...

David Brin said

"Please. Try. Try to answer your own question."

Well, OK. I brought up the specific scenario of plagiarism of an unpublished work, through the illicit copying of private files. I don't know if it's particularly *likely* for someone in the state surveillance agencies or in the management of a major technology company to do this, but it's certainly within their means.

So let's suppose it happens. Technology company X has a backdoor in the update process which allows them to scan and copy private documents on the device running their operating system; and someone at X uses this power to view the working notes of a famous author, and they then hurriedly produce an imitative work of their own.

Or, security agency Y has the power to obtains a warrant to hack a citizen's devices and, again, make a copy of their files; and someone at the agency abuses this power to engage in plagiaristic imitation, as above.

I take it that you want me to think of a solution other than, trying to secure one's data from such intrusions.

I see two possibilities. One way is the status quo: do nothing, then react if you think you have been plagiarized in this way, try to prove it in a court of law, seek restitution through the existing legal system.

Another way would be radical: demand that those who have extraordinary powers of access to private information, themselves must somehow be on public display 24/7. Perhaps the idea would be, that if a random member of the public could be looking over their shoulders (or over their logs) at any time, they are less likely to get away with abusing their power.

It seems to me that our current world combines these two possibilities as follows: For the abuse of private surveillance power, there is no existing systematic recourse except for seeking redress after the act, through the legal system. But the abuse of state surveillance power is meant also to be curtailed, not by public counter-surveillance, but by internal procedures of oversight.

P.S. I have heard of "The Transparent Society" but I haven't read it. I'll look for a copy the next chance I get.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Mitchel
The Transparent Society is well worth a read - or two!
I think that our host was implying that you will find the answer there!

And I agree Dr Brin has proposed some very good solutions to your problem

greg byshenk said...

David, in the comparison between China/N Korea and the USSR/E Europe, one must also take into account that the USSR had good reasons (at least in their own eyes) for wanting to retain control over the states of Eastern Europe, and for doing whatever necessary to do so. Such was not really the case for the Chinese in relation to North Korea.

Tim Wolter said...

A few thoughts on Korea. I've not been inside the North but have a friend who has, as part of a Canadian NGO that provided food relief. The dismal nature of the place has been widely reported and appears not to have been oversold.

1. Conventional artillery will do a lot of damage but will not level Seoul. I'm off in three weeks to Ypres where four years of continual artillery fire by guys who were good at it still did not destroy the entire city. Most of it, sure. But between US/S.Korean counter strikes, untested quality of the Nork army, and perhaps even a few commanders who cut a side deal and spike their guns.....well you would have a big mess, thousands of casualties but in ten years you'd not be able to see any trace of it.

2. Launching a WWI type barrage on a major city would justify any and all punitive measures by the World Community. Any NK leadership who did not make that side deal would be incinerated in their bunkers. They know this.

3. I don't see war as likely. Each side sees a better path. For the Koreas it would be a German scenario. Sure, reunification was difficult and the work is not done yet. But don't you think Kim knows well that the current Chancellor was an "Ostie"? He's probably delusional enough to figure the North will eventually dominate a unified Korea.

4. And for the US. Well there is something of a tradition of US Presidents launching Peace Initiatives when their popularity lags or when they are lame ducks looking to burnish their rep. Usually this comes in the form of Middle East Peace Plans, none of which have really worked. And if China continues to back NK as assorted Middle East nations have backed their factions, any deal would be still borne. IF.

5. Possible scenario. Hemming, hawing, arguments about the shape of the table at Panmunjom (sp?).....then a deal in the next administration. Kinda like Reagan winning the Cold War but not realizing it, with the Wall tumbling a few years later. Perhaps the NK economy, like the USSR's before it, is a Dead Man Walking?

Or not. Any place willing to starve its population into physical and mental enfeeblement in the interest of building a handful of Hiroshima level nukes is not playing with a full deck.

TW/Tacitus

locumranch said...


Lies are motivated by secondary gain. Period. Exclamation point. They are told for secondary gain & they accepted for the same reason. Secondary gain.

Mutual Complicity, aka 'compromise' and 'playing ball', are summed up by the old Soviet Adage about how 'They pretend to pay us, so we pretend to work'.

Our politicians lie to us. In the EU, USA, PRC, North Korea. And citizens pretend to believe those lies. All in the hopes of secondary gain.

David would term this exchange of lies 'Win Win'; I call it 'political correctness'; and others call it 'civilised discourse'.

Gain, at least the perception thereof, is modern truth. Actual truth is a secondary consideration.

Best

Jon S. said...

I've been seeing a lot of loose talk about Wolf's routine at the WHCD being somehow "rude" or "beyond the pale".

To which my response is: have you watched it? It's on YouTube, and probably some other online sources as well. And nothing she said was particularly outrageous, considering that she is a comedian hired to work at a roast. If she'd been a politician running for office? Then yes, the jokes would have been excessively rude. Under the circumstances? Don Rickles would have sneered at the response (and probably told her to punch up the routine - she was pretty soft on some of the targets).

The one I've seen people getting most outraged about, though, is a matter of either deliberate misinterpretation or being staggeringly out-of-touch. I refer, of course, to the gag about Sarah Huckabee Sanders being "resourceful; she burns the lies they give her to tell us daily to make the perfect smoky eye." So far as I can tell, quite a few people have no idea what "smoky eye" is, or at least claim not to.

(For the record, it's an eyeshadow technique, apparently quite difficult to pull off well, and currently very popular. Done poorly, and you wind up with the "raccoon" look that used to be a trademark of singer Avril Lavigne. The makeup portion of the joke was actually a compliment; the other part referred to the fact that SHS has repeatedly gone to the podium at her press "conferences" and spouted things that were provably lies at the time she said them. And for some reason, the press corps has generally just let that slide. So what, now referring baldly to actual events is somehow too "rude"? I thought the liberals were supposed to be the "snowflakes".)

LarryHart said...

Winter7:

It just occurred to me that perhaps my idea of severely punishing serial killers could be interpreted as a hateful comment towards the minority of serial killers ....


I can't tell if you're trying to be funny, but if you are, it worked. :)

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

But the 2nd [Amendment]? It's already unmoored. It's partisans rendered 'well regulated militia' a nullity


Speaking strictly by the text, that first clause really is a nullity. It functions as an explanation for why the Amendment is there, but grammatically, it doesn't constrain "the right to bear arms shall not be infringed" in any (meaningful) way. The wording does not limit the right to bear arms to a well-regulated militia.

That's why I find more legal traction arguing that what's good for the goose (firearms) is good for the gander (swords, knives, surface-to-air missiles)--the legality of regulating firearms is proven by the accepted legality of regulating that other stuff (plus bioweapons and tactical nukes). Because the text really does back up that argument.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

To borrow Larry_H's question: Now that we know that the PRC & North Korea are liars, what do we know?


For the record, I borrow (steal) that from Dave Sim.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

What good is a theory with no evidence to support it?


Dr Brin:

Gadzooks, putting aside that the theory fits observed facts VASTLY better than standard-reflex dogma, there’s the fact that what-if scenario positing is standard sane tradecraft.


The difference is attributable to your respective professions. Donzelion is thinking as a lawyer, while Dr Brin is thinking as a writer, and a writer of speculative fiction at that.

LarryHart said...

Jon S:

So what, now referring baldly to actual events is somehow too "rude"?


I've commented on that here many times--that the more outrageous one side acts, the more the other side gets blamed for "partisanship" for telling the truth. We're apparently supposed to politely cover for the other team when noticing what they actually say/do is embarrassing to them.


I thought the liberals were supposed to be the "snowflakes".)


Yes, that's worth emphasizing as well. Right-wingers demand every bit as much political correctness as liberals do; they just don't call it that, so they can pretend that's not what they're doing.

There is of course, the joke about how Republicans are the real snowflakes *, but it's not even necessary to diminish it to a joke. They really are. The slightest hint of not elevating them to godhood has them nailing the back of their hands to their foreheads. **

* The punchline is "They're cold, they're white, and if you get enough of them together, they'll shut down the public schools."

** Thanks to Dave Sim for that image too.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Gain, at least the perception thereof, is modern truth. Actual truth is a secondary consideration.


True enough, but somewhat irrelevant. A reputation for honesty often comes in handy.
And trust takes a lot of time and effort to establish, and is so easy to squander.

Those who destroy their own reputation often come to regret it in a situation in which trust would have been useful.

Russell Osterlund said...

The media still does not "get it".

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/politics/michelle-wolf-whcd-takeaways/index.html

"You helped create this monster and now you are profiting from him."

"The second sentence I take some issue with. Yes, cable ran Trump's primary speeches because he said and did things that no one else would do -- and that people would watch. And, yes, when I was at The Washington Post, I wrote about Trump regularly because he said and did things that no one else did.
But that, to me, is different than "creating" Trump. Donald Trump's candidacy was formed and sharpened by an angry and embittered GOP electorate who was sick of their own party, of Washington, of the media, of everything. He was rising whether the media covered him wall to wall or not; he was the angry id of the GOP. The media didn't create that."

If you (the media) did not "create" this monster, you certainly nurtured it and provided the fertile soil to help it grow.

I remember the 2008 primary at the height of the Obama-Clinton contest where NBC ALWAYS reported on Obama's latest campaign rally speech with the banner, "Yes We Can", in the background while their "equal time" for Clinton was nondescript. I stopped watching NBC after this subliminal messaging.

David Smelser said...

Mitchell,

I think the transparent solution to the problem is for the author to go public with the work in progress so that any theft can be easily proved. My wife follows an author who has monetized this process by created a member's only subscription service where members get to read draft chapters as they are completed. I have seen authors thank their reading group that contain a 100+ members -- might such a group also provide evidence that a work had been stolen.

These solutions depend on the rule of law that sufficiently holds the guilty accountable and with sufficient penalties that can make the victim whole.

Anonymous said...


More consequences of Donald Trump's actions:

https://www.rt.com/usa/425260-us-adversaries-disrupt-communication-syria/

Winter7

matthew said...

Note that the pundits complaining about Wolf's roast are currying favor with the POTUS by doing so. They are merely working to keep / improve their access to the number one source of news in the world. They are being willful participants in the dance of appeasement that is the Washington pool.

David's tired comment about "loonies on the Left, while the Right consists of loonies" indicates he did not watch the Correspondents Dinner. Doc, you have some stock phrases you use when you think you already know the facts in a situation and don't need to do your homework. After being in some version of "here" for a couple of decades many of your responses sound canned.

Locum taking umbrage at it just means he consumed his usual diet of right wing outrage machine. Also very clear that he too did not watch the Dinner.


john fremont said...

OT

Watching CNN on my lunch break and they featuring Netanyahu and how Iran has lied about its nuclear program. ....War clouds gathering

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Speaking strictly by the text [of the 2nd Amendment], that first clause really is a nullity."
Scalia and Stevens offered well-refined arguments on both sides in Heller. Scalia's view prevailed, so I suppose you're right. The text itself is hardly so clear.

For the conversation here though - the thesis that cameras/right to record are useful but need some constitutional justification to safeguard the right - Dr. Brin has long presented a 2nd Amendment-styled argument. The whole concept of pointing guns at the powerful to rein them in, and using cameras similarly, may be powerful. I respect the claim enough to engage it, even if harbor reservations as to how far it will get us.

We can use the text and the law as they are actually written and enforced, although much work would be necessary to show that cameras are closer to 'guns' than some other tool.
That work is doable: we can measure the effect cameras have on the 'security of a free State' - we can look at the millions of Americans actually guarding their homes with cameras (often using them, rather than firearms, to achieve the traditional purposes of guns). We might distinguish guns and cameras as 'arms necessary for freedom', and thus subject to protection, from nukes and missiles as 'arms not necessary for freedom' (because they encroach upon the rights of 3rd parties whenever utilized, and thus are properly reserved to the state).

But the 6th? A different beast entirely. To render it relevant, we must first assume we all face criminal charges, all the time - not merely when a prosecutor brings charges - and thus our recordings are 'evidence' to guard against that risk. We would need to accept that we live in 'Orwellville' - not America. Assuming the risk exists such that the defense is needed at all times raises nasty possibilities: if one is permanently at risk of detention at any time, subject only to a 'non-excessive' bail (the 8th), then rather than owning property, what one thought was 'his' property is merely collateral for use in bail - it is 'his' conditionally. If one is permanently charged with a crime, then any 'search and seizure' (the 4th) is presumptively 'reasonable.' And so on. Not a free state at all.

To make the 6th the basis for a 'right to record,' we must first assume an ugly, unfree world. To use the 2nd instead, we need merely stick to our guns (so to speak).

Jon S. said...

The problem there, Matthew, is that they're so assiduously currying favor to protect this apparently-mythical "access" that they're not actually using it to get any news. They instead dutifully parrot the lines the administration feeds them, seemingly not noticing how we celebrate when one of them dares to point out that the Emperor's new clothes are maybe a tad flesh-colored.

My roommate has to take a slew of medications in order to treat his PTSD and secondary disorders picked up from combat in Iraq. (He was supposed to be a cook, but that's a whole other rant.) Sometimes he starts to run low on one of them, especially his antidepressants and/or sleep meds. He gets so worried about that that he stops taking them, in order to preserve the supply. I keep telling him the pills aren't doing him any good just sitting in the bottle, but...

And that "access" isn't doing the press any good just sitting there in a back pocket, never being used. You have to open the lid and take the pills sometimes in order to keep the system healthy.

occam's comic said...

Jon S.
You have my sympathies, a loved one or just someone you know who has PTSD is so hard to deal with in a way that actually helps them get better.

A very dear friend of mine had PTSD, for years she went to therapy for years and had lots of support from friends and family but that really only helped a little.

It took a life threating illness before she could pull herself out of the pit of PTSD.

donzelion said...

Russell: "But that, to me, is different than "creating" Trump."

Not so sure. 'Candidate Trump' is a reflection of other media investments into the 'Trump Brand' going back decades - media found that brand more marketable than the average crackpot or tub of butter, more than the mere playboy scion of a family fortune: everything beyond that initial inheritance is a 'media creation.' Lots of folks have crackpot ideals - why did birtherism take roost? Pageantry, 'The Apprentice,' the 'Art of the Deal' (yet another), the ad calling for the death penalty in NY, the 'Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,' the divorces, etc. - media 'created' Trump, found he sold well, and did so long before wall-to-wall coverage of Candidate Trump commenced in 2015. And now he's president.

The "angry and embittered GOP electorate" may itself be more a media product than anything else. If the 'angry electorate' really rejected the GOP, why did they reelect GOP reps? Odd. If they really rejected 'the media,' why are they watching Fox? We might also look at the same phenomenon and consider how it is 'rejected' and 'accepted' - e.g., the stock market trajectory since 2009 hasn't changed much - yet under Obama, it was a source of rage, under Trump, a source of satisfaction. We might properly regard the 'rage' as a 'media construction.'

I don't take that as an indictment of those who covered Trump in 2015+, at least, not specifically, so much as an indictment of how the entire media system makes people like Trump possible.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

LarryHart: "Speaking strictly by the text [of the 2nd Amendment], that first clause really is a nullity."
Scalia and Stevens offered well-refined arguments on both sides in Heller. Scalia's view prevailed, so I suppose you're right. The text itself is hardly so clear.


I'm not reading it as a lawyer, of course, but as a native English speaker, it sure looks to me as if "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" stands on its own as an imperative. The earlier "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State," looks like a mere explanation of why the Amendment is important.

That's if you read it as: "(A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."

Now, I've heard the argument that the comma after "Militia" causes it to more accurately be read as: "A well regulated Militia (being necessary to the security of a free State) the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." So that "militia" is the subject of the sentence and "being necessary..." is the mere explanation. But my problem with that is that the sentence doesn't make sense that way. If you try to parse the sentence without that middle part, you get "A well-regulated Militia the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed." It doesn't make sense syntactically.

The only way it works as a sentence is if "the right of the people..." is the complex subject and "shall not be infringed" is the predicate. You can't diagram it the other way.


although much work would be necessary to show that cameras are closer to 'guns' than some other tool.


I have a cynical answer. Once enough black people are shot for having a camera in their hands during traffic stops, the equivalence will be determined by precedent.

locumranch said...


The lies just keep on coming:

Donzelion (who argues that the 6th Amendment does not apply to the accumulation of surveillance-based evidence in our so-called 'free society') should take a Miranda Warning refresher course, as he appears to have forgotten that 'Anything you EVER say, write, post, text or record can be used against you in a court-of-law forever & ever, as Miranda Rights do not exclude pre-arrest evidentiary media.

Like the lying MSM which profits from the manufacture of false political discord & outrage.

Like our lying Matthew when he asserts that I never even watched the WH correspondents' dinner speaker even though I clearly supplied the appropriate you're-a-boob-tube link above.

Like every #MeToo supporter everywhere who feigns shock, surprise & moral outrage when the well-documented existence of the Hollywood Casting Couch system is CONFIRMED by 'outrageous', 'shocking' & 'surprising' 30-year old testimony.

Like David who pretends that Transparency is some sort of magical light-based antidote to the commonly acknowledged & socially accepted corruptions of the 'Open Secret' variety.

I should add that I was being IRONIC when I feigned offence at Michelle Wolf's potty-mouth but, hey, you know what they say about 'when in Rome'.

Now, cue some unimaginative progressives (or conservatives) who are to take mock umbrage (shock, surprise & moral outrage) at the very suggestion that they could be 'lying liars' just like everyone else in the universe.


Best
____
Doesn't a clueless Larry_H know that firearms can be disguised as damn-near anything, including cellphones, canes, pen knives, cameras, lighters, cigarette packages, key chains, car bobs & writing instruments? In the wrong hands, even a pastrami sandwich could conceal a deadly weapon.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: ah, I thought I conceded your point. I'll leave it with this: Stephens isn't silly, pedantic, or syntactically challenged - he makes a strong argument, but for now, the stronger one - and the law - concurs with you.

What I do question is how best to safeguard a 'right to record.' If the 2nd's text 'well-regulated militia' is a parenthetical, then the absolute prohibition on laws restricting arms looks certain: but which arms does it apply to? Muskets? Carbines? Assault rifles? Cameras? Extending cameras the same treatment as other 'arms' might get us pretty much all we need.

I'll concede that a 'right to bear cameras' is different from the 'right to record' in one way: the 'right to bear arms' does not authorize one to shoot another, or any other thing. But let's finish safeguarding the right to bear cameras before veering off.

But let's pause to think what it means before invoking the 6th as the basis for this right: unlike the other amendments, the 6th clearly relates to 'criminal prosecutions.' That phrase cannot be treated as a parenthetical with the rest making any sense. Trying to distort it so that it does make sense requires reconsideration of much of what we think of as a 'free society.'

donzelion said...

Locum: Miranda relates to the 5th, not the 6th. Sorry pal. ;-)

"Anything you EVER say, write, post, text or record can be used against you in a court-of-law forever & ever"
Not quite so, and the 'not quite' means damn near everything. Even things you've done and been convicted of cannot necessarily be used against you. Evidence must be relevant and non-prejudicial to the charge at hand. There's LOTS of rules in my game.

"Miranda Rights do not exclude pre-arrest evidentiary media"
Miranda rights always exclude recordings obtained improperly from a prosecutor's 'case-in-chief' - they can 'use' them even if improperly obtained, but in general, only if a defendant 'opens the door' (by testifying in his own behalf), at which point, they may be used to challenge his veracity.

"Like the lying MSM which profits from the manufacture of false political discord & outrage."
Another reason why we do not want media to operate in anything approximating a legal setting.

"Like David who pretends that Transparency is some sort of magical light-based antidote to the commonly acknowledged & socially accepted corruptions of the 'Open Secret' variety."
The language in his latest post depicts a 'sabers of light.' That, to me, invokes the 2nd.
The rhetoric of 'light as antidote' usually invokes the 1st. His later rhetoric about the 6th posits something closer to 'light as a shield' - and my argument follows that this isn't where one would wish to base a 'right to record.' He thinks I'm an idiot. I may be. But at least I know where Miranda came from and what it means. ;-)

LarryHart said...

@donzelion,

Ok, we're not really arguing. I wasn't commenting one way or the other on the 6th.

This is a bit of a problem, though:

then the absolute prohibition on laws restricting arms looks certain: but which arms does it apply to? Muskets? Carbines? Assault rifles? Cameras? Extending cameras the same treatment as other 'arms' might get us pretty much all we need.


By the strict letter of the law, no infringement is allowed, full stop. So the question of regulation has to rest on whether regulation counts as infringement, or else what types of regulation count as infringement.

Here, precedent is a problem. Because clearly, prohibitions on some kinds of arms (nukes, bioweapons, but also switchblades and swords) are allowed in law, but somehow, it's an article of faith that firearms in particular are immune. That's not what the text says. If you argue for complete inability to regulate guns, your same argument applies to all of those other things too. If you argue that some weapons are too dangerous to be left unregulated, I'd argue that the AR-15 falls into that bucket. The fact that it's a gun doesn't give it a free pass. The Amendment says nothing about guns in particular.

A separate bag of worms might be to question whether it's sufficient that the government allows you to have something that counts as "arms", and that satisfies the 2nd Amendment. "We're taking away your pistols and rifles, but you can keep your slingshot, so we're not infringing your right to bear arms." You're the lawyer--does that have any merit?

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

locumranch said...

The lies just keep on coming:


Ironic on so many levels. :)

Not the least of which is, you're not lying when you say that.


Doesn't a clueless Larry_H know that firearms can be disguised as damn-near anything, including cellphones, canes, pen knives, cameras, lighters, cigarette packages, key chains, car bobs & writing instruments? In the wrong hands, even a pastrami sandwich could conceal a deadly weapon.


"Clueless"? No, I was presuming that many black men actually would be shot for wielding a camera. And that that would give precedent to support the legal argument that a camera is a weapon, and therefore allowed by the 2nd Amendment.

Sure, it's ironic that a proof that a thing is allowed by the 2nd Amendment comes from the fact that citizens are killed by police for possessing this protected item. But that's the sort of irony I've come to accept. It's kinda like the old tests for witches, in which drowning proved you innocent.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

But at least I know where Miranda came from and what it means. ;-)


He wrote "In The Heights" and "Hamilton".

Everyone knows that. :)

matthew said...

Locum, since you assert you watched the clip you posted, I'll posit you are lying about the content. Your (and David's) assertions about the clip do not remotely resemble what the clip shows.

So, either locu is lying about watching the clip, or he is lying about the content of the clip. Since we've already established that locu lies constantly here, the nature of that lie is immaterial.

David Brin said...


Donzellion: “But the 6th? A different beast entirely. To render it relevant, we must first assume we all face criminal charges, all the time - not merely when a prosecutor brings charges - and thus our recordings are 'evidence' to guard against that risk. We would need to accept that we live in 'Orwellville' - not America.”

Absolutely wrong. 100% and totally wrong. Any of us MIGHT SOMEDAY face trial, and need access to exculpatory evidence. And any denial of open access to non-harmful information, even a decade earlier, might later prove to hamper your later access to exculpatory truth. Hence the burden on the state not to prevent your recording (non harmfully) is presumed. The state (and others) bear burden of proof that you should not have access to information.

Yes there are other competing interests and that burden can be met. But it is still a burden based upon the 6th.
`

David Brin said...

locum:
“Lies are motivated by secondary gain. Period. Exclamation point. “

Stunning, towering malarkey! The number one human talent is delusion and, as Richard Feynman said: “the easiest person to fool is yourself.”

Yes, delusion has huge uses. Positive ones in art and imagination (I sell top quality delusions that are honestly marketed AS delusions.) Negative ones in fooling others to give what you want (there’s yer “secondary gain.”) And those we concoct in order to feel better about ourselves.

No one seeks an end to all delusion, especially the positive kinds. But tsunamis of human misery accompany the negative kinds. Especially when human lords crushed criticism and made grand errors of statecraft. Or when heads of families rationalized reasons to beat their wives and kids. The only solution ever found for that kind of delusion has been accountability. Reciprocal criticism and accountability.

Our enlightenment revolution-renaissance is about setting up systems so that reciprocal accountability can flow, inconveniencing powerful rationalizers. It resulted in a society more successful than all others combined. Our current political struggle is between those loyal to that innovation and those who loathe it and want to return to the vast darkness of unaccountable delusion and lies.

David Brin said...

And just to be clear about this: "Our current political struggle is between those loyal to that innovation and those who loathe it and want to return to the vast darkness of unaccountable delusion and lies."

There is an 80% correlation of that dichotomy with Democrat vs. Republican. A few dems are cheaters and a very few goppers are non-cheaters. But the macro policies of the parties are startlingly well-correlated. One is the Union, standing for humanity's one, small chance to achieve justice and the stars. The other is the literally horrible American psychosis. The Confederacy.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "Any of us MIGHT SOMEDAY face trial, and need access to exculpatory evidence."

Of course. But are most of our recordings actually produced based on the possibility of their use as exculpatory evidence in our defense? I think not.

The hypothetical possibility that we may face criminal charges is a horrifying prospect for anyone who has ever experienced it; a world in which we structure our rights for our ordinary relationships view an eye toward guarding against this terrible possibility is hardly a 'free' world. (Bear in mind, the 6th relates to criminal charges - it does not necessarily apply to civil charges, or even administrative hearings, for which slightly different rules apply.)

Do we habitually treat our friends as 'potential witnesses' in our defense - or potential jurors sitting in judgment against us - such that the government is barred from preventing us from making friendships for this reason? Hardly. Rather, the government is barred from intruding into those relationships because they're none of its damn business.

If your invocation of the possibility we might produce exculpatory (or incriminatory) evidence is intended to mean that we have a potentially legitimate reason to record, and government cannot therefore intrude upon that legit reason, then you're actually falling closer to the jurisprudence surrounding the 1st, where such rulings are common (one 'fair use' defeats any number of unfair uses, and any government regulation that is overbroad is struck). Either that, or the 2nd, are good bases. Invoking the 6th in this way makes no sense unless one first assumes a very 'unfree' world.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Sure, it's ironic that a proof that a thing is allowed by the 2nd Amendment comes from the fact that citizens are killed by police for possessing this protected item."

Ironic? Perhaps not. Most of our rights (esp. our rights in a criminal context) are 'proven' to exist by their effective use by rapists, thugs, murderers, and drug traders who successfully invoke them to escape punishment. That's by design: we use the worst dregs of society to protect the rest of us (and prevent the police from sinking to their level and beating confessions from them...ahem, that other Miranda...). Why should it be ironic to do the converse - prove that cameras are 'arms' because those bearing them get shot at as if they had guns?

Rock solid legal reason? Probably not. But worth considering.

locumranch said...


Not quite so, and the 'not quite' means damn near everything

Donzelion responds as expected with the obtuse answer of the accomplished liar, reflective of society wherein words & statutes no longer possess any discernible significance in & of themselves, as evidenced by a grinning former lawyer-in-chief who infamously argued that commonly-used words had little or no meaning.

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is", he said.

Larry_H then argues that that an item brandished by a criminal suspect that could be a weapon cannot be a weapon, while demanding that law enforcement either act or not-act accordingly, as our local empiricist David sings praises to "positive delusions" (and lies) while condemning negative lies & delusions as "tsunamis of human misery".

"It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'lie' is", David seems to say, in the Orwellian Animal Farm sense of “Four lies good (but) two lies bad", even though one reality-denying lie is much like any other.

Our legal profession has become 'A Plague of Pythons' (TASAT).


Best
_____

Kiss the US Bill of Rights good-bye, fellows.

The US Supreme Court has already ruled that First Amendment 'free' speech equals PAID speech in Citizens_United and it's just a matter of time before a corrupt legal profession equates (a) the Second Amendment 'Right to Bear Arms' with going around SLEEVELESS and (b) eliminates Third Amendment 'quartering' protections by giving its soldiers your ENTIRE house instead of just a 'quarter'.

Fourth Amendment protections already went bye-bye under the federal pretense of taxing 'persons, houses, papers, and effects' AS IF they were already government property; Fifth Amendment protections were killed by the passage of the 'except in cases of (...) public danger' Patriot Act; and, Sixth Amendment guarantees have been rendered moot by the application of #MeToo anti-male mob justice.

On paper, US citizens are already US federal slaves, except for Governor Jerry Clown's defiant anti-federal penis waving a la William Wallace at the behest of FOREIGN nationals.

It's a Comedy Macabre!!

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | unless one first assumes a very 'unfree' world.

Are you suggesting the power asymmetry between us and our government aren't enough to qualify?

They ARE supposed to be barred because it is none of their damn business, but the asymmetry makes that highly unlikely as the costs of watching us continue to drop.

I'm not sold on the 6th being the vehicle we need. I'm just poking at your argument that pokes at his.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "By the strict letter of the law, no infringement is allowed, full stop."

One reason to be cautious in selecting which words to read strictly; the only justice to try doing it that way I know of was Douglas (deemed by many a 'crazy' judge, and often a contrarian, I love him like I love our host). If one argues, "the Constitution prohibits a restriction against owning arms, nukes are a kind of 'arm', therefore I may have nukes" one has a straightforward, logical argument - but not one supported anywhere I know of.

Usually, there's some balancing and definitional struggle, and the rules for how to proceed are fixed. If one text doesn't explicitly define 'arms,' we first look at the rest of it to try to discern a meaning from the surrounding words. Here, 'militia' and 'security of a free State' help: 'guns' are privileged because 'militias' have always used them to protect a 'free State.'

But militias use LOTS of stuff to protect a 'free State' - they also use, e.g., sand bags (for flood control) and vehicles. While a sand bag or vehicle could be converted into a weapon (you do not want to get hit upside the head with a filled sand bag), that possibility does not convert them from 'tools' into 'arms.' A camera? It is a stretch, but I do not know that it's a bridge too far.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

LarryHart: "Sure, it's ironic that a proof that a thing is allowed by the 2nd Amendment comes from the fact that citizens are killed by police for possessing this protected item."

Ironic? Perhaps not. Most of our rights (esp. our rights in a criminal context) are 'proven' to exist by their effective use by rapists, thugs, murderers, and drug traders who successfully invoke them to escape punishment.


I think you're pointing out that our rights and freedoms get to be made use of by bad people as well as good people, and maybe our willingness to let bad people use them proves their universality. That's not what I was talking about.

I was noting the irony that a policeman can shoot a driver for possessing a gun, even though possessing a gun is supposedly an un-infringable Constitutional right. So it gets even "funnier" to extrapolate that we can determine whether cameras are Constitutionally protected by seeing if (like guns), enough people get shot dead for possessing one.

It really is similar to the "trial by water" thing we used to do to suspected witches, where if you drown, that proves you are--I mean were--innocent. "If possession of this thing gets you killed, that proves it is similar enough to a gun that you have a Constitutional right to have possessed it after all."

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

Larry_H then argues that that an item brandished by a criminal suspect that could be a weapon cannot be a weapon, while demanding that law enforcement either act or not-act accordingly,


What the fornication are you talking about? I was arguing that the camera is a 2nd Amendment-protected weapon. I posited an ironic argument to use if one had to convince an appeals court that this is the case, but that hardly puts me on the diametric opposite side of the debate.

donzelion said...

Alfred: Fair enough, poke away by all means.

"Are you suggesting the power asymmetry between us and our government aren't enough to qualify?"

Hmmm...Government is a Leviathan, and is easily capable of killing me, incarcerating me, or depriving my property - an asymmetry that applied nearly as much in the 18th century as it does today. The rights in the 6th are built on the notion of fear: the government can be terrifying, we need to constrain it, even when it deals with allegedly 'bad' people (a task for which we created it, and also the time it is at its most frightening). It is only when we cannot constrain it that we would need a right to spend our lives producing exculpatory evidence (just in case).

So I suppose I'm suggesting that given the power asymmetry, the prudent path is not to invoke bonds upon the beast designed to curtail it at its most ferocious, leave them alone, and develop for our daily use other rights that are intended to apply regardless of whether we're charged or not. The 2nd is intriguing: a man with a musket in the 17th, or a man with an assault rifle in the 21st, are not a credible threat to the 'state' - but are to other citizens, and any would-be feudal lord must be wary of peasants when he tramples upon them. Tinkering with the chains on the beast at its most ferocious, to invoke them in our daily lives without need, raises the risk of loosening them when we do need them.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "I think you're pointing out that our rights and freedoms get to be made use of by bad people as well as good people, and maybe our willingness to let bad people use them proves their universality. That's not what I was talking about."

It is what I was pointing out, and I know it's not what you were talking about. I was making a converse observation: most of our rights are 'proven' by bad people for the benefit of good people - so why not put the wrongful slaying of good (but camera wielding) people to a similar use (to guard the right to bear cameras for 'bad' people who just wanna use em to record their cat doing tricks).

Got the witch trial argument. It's interesting. Legally sound? Not so sure. But interesting.

David Brin said...


“If your invocation of the possibility we might produce exculpatory (or incriminatory) evidence is intended to mean that we have a potentially legitimate reason to record, and government cannot therefore intrude upon that legit reason, then you're actually falling closer to the jurisprudence surrounding the 1st, where such rulings are common (one 'fair use' defeats any number of unfair uses, and any government regulation that is overbroad is struck). “

Exactly. The first has been organically expanded in one way, by making the right to speak the baseline/default. It can be curbed, for good reasons. But those reasons bear the burden of proof. That burden upon the speech restrictor is sufficient to explain nearly all of the expansions upon the 1st.

Likewise, I am not claiming an unlimited right to record everybody, all the time. But who has the right to say “you’ll never need this for exculpation, therefore you may not record”? That case can be mode! There will be times when pre-exculpation is a lame justification and other rights or needs can over come it. But those rights and needs bear the burden of proof.

Locum’s yammer is that it’s all lost already, so pay no attention to the blatant fact that it is confederates who are systematically demolishing all rights. His lack of perspective is now famous. How I wish he’d go live a week in any other place or time.. Almost any.

Oh, it’s not “sleeveless” that a future court will use. It’s the whole first half of the 2nd Amendment. I have offered a far, far, stronger amendment as a compromise. These nuts will rue their intransigence. But we’ll save citizen rights with another kind of weapon.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | Tinkering with the chains is what we do, though. I recognize there is danger, but I think there is a good argument to be made for the tinkering.

This reminds me of contemporaneous memos. The first time I heard someone explain to me (during the stone age) that they'd be valuable in a court setting, my first reaction was to ask why anyone would go to the trouble of documenting their life on the chance that it might be useful. The teacher explained some situations where it should be considered and then pointed out that some people just do it anyway. Some people write diaries, right? I thought it was too much trouble, but remembered the point he was making.

Fast forward to modern times and it occurs to me that I can document my life at almost no cost to me and with very little of my attention. THAT changes everything because my initial rejection was based on the cost to me of my time and attention. If someone told me I couldn't record a LE activity, I'd take it as being too similar to being told I couldn't write a contemporaneous memo. I'd tell them to stuff it. Since I could be 'writing/recording' whenever I want, I think I would have something of a combination of a first amendment and sixth amendment right to continue. With a few brain cells, I might record with a journalist's view of things. If I got into trouble or someone else did, though, my recordings would the evidence needed.

I doubt there is a good argument that says our right to record is clearly the domain of any of the amendments mentioned so far. #1, 2, and 6 all seem to apply. As usual, so does the one that says we have other unlisted rights too. 8)

Anonymous said...

In some states have they been forbidden to record the actions of police and politicians? I seem to remember that on the news I saw policemen taking someone's camera away. Maybe it is forbidden to record the authorities? If that is the situation ... Are you currently legally promoting the law that allows you to record the authorities?
If not. There is always the possibility of recording clandestinely.

Winter7

donzelion said...

Alfred: "Tinkering with the chains is what we do, though. I recognize there is danger, but I think there is a good argument to be made for the tinkering."

So long as the danger is appreciated (by someone), I've done my part.

But do bear in mind, I am defending the right to record, just seeking a proper foundation for that right. I might, by the same measure, defend evolution while repudiating a claim that evolution reflects God's plan for man's ascension - such a claim does not help describe the thing I believe in, is superfluous, and possibly harmful. Snip, move back to the premise.

If you get the misfortune to become acquainted with how a prosecutor uses your records against you. You'll learn how how a 'seemingly' exculpatory record actually can become something else entirely. Consider Nixon's tape recordings: he never imagined that the thousands of hours of tapes showing him acting, by and large, presidential (albeit with broad command of expletives) might be reduced to a scant 10 minutes or so to show something else entirely. Most of us aren't as smart as Nixon (but perhaps a tad more honest).

Like Nixon, we assume, "I have 10,000 hours of footage show I never did that!" Like Nixon, the whole review will fixate upon the 10 minutes that do not show what we wanted the record to mean: and that alone is apt to convict us, or at least, raise a powerful inference we've done something else entirely, and all the rest is covering it up.

Better rule: we have a right to record - either to bear arms, or to freely express ourselves. If we need those recordings in court, we will always have the 6th to protect us. If we need to produce them outside of court, we have adequate freedoms elsewhere.

donzelion said...

Winter: "In some states have they been forbidden to record the actions of police and politicians?"

Not per se; in most of the country, federal courts have found a 'right to record on-duty police performing their functions.' There is still some debate: e.g., if protesters are wearing masks, police may confiscate camera phones of masked protesters because the mask itself may be 'criminal.' Bystander videos are generally protected; and personal videos of ourselves are ALWAYS protected (and admissible when relevant/non-prejudicial).

That said, there is no corresponding right to disseminate videos of police proceedings as of yet. That's for two reasons (1) interference with police business, and (2) anti-vendetta/racially inflammatory abuses of the footage. Look at the videos aired on FB in Sri Lanka for an illustration of the problem of airing even 'accurate' (but misleading) footage, and riots that can ensue. Some balancing considerations apply here...

For politicians, I know of no massive attack upon the 'freedom of the press': Trump bashing them consistently has not directly threatened their capacity and freedom to do their jobs.

The closest warning calls I know of - raised by our host, following carefully in this field - appear to be instances that, on closer inspection, were never what they seemed (e.g., man with multiple DUIs attempted to create footage 'showing a police conspiracy' against him - that was a harassment action, as I recall, rather than a 'right to record' case).

"Are you currently legally promoting the law that allows you to record the authorities?"
Yes - but I think the best basis for that is the 1st (citing a theory that 'truth is an antidote') and the 2nd (on a theory that sabers of light are needed for self-defense) amendments, BUT NOT the 6th (a theory of light as a shield from threat). So far as I'm aware (and I follow this somewhat closely as well), it's already the law in the 9th Circuit (where I live).

donzelion said...

BTW, Winter: none of that means that you have an unfettered 'right to record' other people, without their consent! That's a very different thing...even in California, if one starts doing that without consent, one violates other rights.

And that's where things get exceptionally tricky. My 'right to record' is balanced against your 'right not to be recorded' - they are equal and opposite rights. If my right to record expands, it can only do so by contracting your right not to be recorded by me.

This is why I say that law is always a 'zero sum' game - one right cannot expand, ever, without retracting another right. Law itself is a sequence of zero sum games; those who do not understand that do not know law. However, even if law itself is a zero sum game (or series thereof), society benefits immensely from the play of this game: the total advantages socially are NOT zero sum, even if the law itself is.

Anonymous said...

Donzelion:
Since the authorities tend most of the time to commit acts of abuse, and since politicians tend most of the time to commit unlawful acts. It should be a citizen's right to record police officers and politicians. Of course, the government has the right to record the activities of people in the streets; but not inside their houses. (except severe suspicion that the individual under investigation is a serial killer, a rapist or Donald Trump)
In view of the great importance of recording politicians and policemen as a vital tool to maintain civil liberties, the recording of politicians and police must be converted into an inalienable right of citizens.
Winter7
The same text in Spanish:
Dado que las autoridades tienden la mayoría de las veces a cometer actos de abuso, y dado que los políticos tienden la mayoría de las veces a cometer actos ilícitos. Debería ser un derecho de los ciudadanos el grabar a los policías y a los políticos. Desde luego, el gobierno tiene derecho a grabar las actividades de las personas en las calles; pero no dentro de sus casas. (salvo severa sospecha de que el individuo bajo investigación es un asesino serial; un violador o Donald Trump)
En vista de la gran importancia de grabar a los políticos y policías como una herramienta vital para mantener las libertades ciudadanas, el grabar a los políticos y policías debe ser convertido en un derecho inalienable de los ciudadanos.
Winter7

Anonymous said...

Donzelion:
That is to say: The law should require politicians and policemen to renounce the right not to be recorded during working hours. (not in the bathroom)
Or in the streets, outside working hours in the case of politicians. Although, on second thought, not only politicians plot acts of corruption in free time, so ... Both police and politicians must be recorded at work; on the streets and in public places at any time of the day or night.(not in the bathroom)
(The bathroom should be a place as sacred as the churches, it is a place where one can read a good book, in peace with the universe ...)

Winter7

gerold said...

Just finished reading Existence and saw the reference to this blog in the afters. Glad I found it. Interesting conversation. A couple of comments:

Re: transparency v. privacy. Privacy is over-rated. One of the effects of a surveillance society - if we do it right - is the elimination of bullshit laws against victimless crimes and shame-based blackmail. When everything is out in the open, the only thing you have to hide are actual crimes, where people are harmed. So instead of creating an Orwellian tyranny, we can build a society where transparency results in two vital positives: less crime, and a libertarian legal system where the only crimes are those that result in harm to others. Sounds good to me.

Re: North Korea. Obviously NK is a creation and client of China. Calling it a fully owned and operated subsidiary might be a slight exaggeration, but not by much. 90% of NK trade goes through China. China holds the valve on their feeding tube, and can close it any time. But assuming direct operational control does seem an overstatement. China sacrificed something like 800,000 lives to create NK. That created a powerful constituency within China to support it, which then evolved its own momentum over time. Much like our idiotic Cuba policy. US Cuba policy had much less incentive than Chinese NK policy, yet it still totters on today, against all logic, reason, common sense and decency.

Here's the weird thing about NK however. Trump and his stupid/sordid past of bribery, intimidation, fraud and crime is actually a pretty good match for dealing with a petty gangster like Kim. Trump and his methodology are almost completely inimical to the norms and requirements of the presidency, with the possible exception of strong-arming petty criminals and corrupt small-time dictators. If we get some progress in Korea, our own Fucking Moron Conman-in-Chief might actually deserve some credit for it.

Hate to say it, but even a blind dung beetle finds a turd once in a while.

David Brin said...

gerold, welcome to one of the oldest/best communities on the web.

Yes, transparency CAN have the win-win you describe, but the essential ingredient is a socialtrend to accept/preotect diversity/eccentricity and to despise homogeneity. Otherwise, in a society that admires homogeneity, transparency will be used to enforce it.

greg byshenk said...

donzelion wrote...
"Like David who pretends that Transparency is some sort of magical light-based antidote to the commonly acknowledged & socially accepted corruptions of the 'Open Secret' variety."

The language in his latest post depicts a 'sabers of light.' That, to me, invokes the 2nd.
The rhetoric of 'light as antidote' usually invokes the 1st.


I don't read locum's comments any longer, but it is worth emphasising here that David very explicitly says that "light" (however way it is interpreted) is not "magical". It is not a guarantee or anything of a sort. Rather, it is a tool (maybe the only one) that can be used to keep the enlightenment from falling back into darkness. But as a tool, it must be used; it does not itself do anything.

donzelion said...

Winter: "It should be a citizen's right to record police officers and politicians."

In general in America, we do have the 'right to record' police when they are acting publicly. Older, well-established rights apply to monitoring politicians. These currently rest upon the First Amendment, by and large.

There's an 'additive' quality to the filters in use that tweak the perception of what our government does: the light shone adds color to what is otherwise a dark screen. In America, we get ample exposure to "red" and "blue" spectra (and if one actually watches main stream media, one sees plenty of "green" light - the ads funding the whole affair).

There is a wrinkle: those most interested by the 'red light' tend to know the least about the world. If one purpose of 'light' is to reveal objects to us, why do those who perceive in this hue typically know 'less' about the world than someone who was utterly uninformed? That suggests something other than 'light' is being aired...

donzelion said...

Greg: "it is worth emphasising here that David very explicitly says that "light" (however way it is interpreted) is not "magical"

Concur. And it is only because the metaphors of light are real, at work, meaningful that it is worth critiquing them and their use.

But your notion of 'tool' is intriguing: we 'use' light every day, even when we do not or cannot perceive it: without light (and very specific kinds of light energy), we'd die, freeze, starve. The light is all around us, setting the environment, whether we use it or not. It is possible some anaerobic bacteria could exist without (much) light, using heat alone as an energy source in the depths of the ocean where little light reaches. WE cannot.

Nowadays, we've concocted any number of new ways to 'use' light, not just as an environmental condition we're dependent upon, but as new 'tools.' We can use it as a 'weapon' as well. Perhaps our right to do so should be protected.

occam's comic said...

So does anyone think that elected Democrats will do anything punish Israel for trying to drag us into another war in the middle east?

It seems to me that Israel has become a partner with the worst elements of the Republican party. Perhaps the democratic party should tell the Israelis that the "special relationship" with the USA is over and that the US will treat Israel like the right wing militaristic country that it has become.

Seriously, why should someone who is liberal support Israel when they are trying to drag us into a war for the benefit of right wing a-holes in Israel?

donzelion said...

Gerold: "So instead of creating an Orwellian tyranny, we can build a society where transparency results in two vital positives"

I fear a Huxleyian 'brave new world' more than an Orwellian. No jackboot tyranny long endured, not beyond a few decades. Humans are far more likely to submit to powers out of indolence, avarice, and disdain for their fellows than out of horror. And humans who are horrified are far less likely to make anything useful to enable them to maintain the apparatus of horror; humans who are not horrified build systems that trounce the fear mongers.

Huxley posited a sort of 'racial' or 'caste' feudalism laced with chemical stimulants - something too exotic in his day to be widely perceived or feared. Not so today.

matthew said...

The next stage of our constitutional crisis.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2018/05/01/house-freedom-caucus-drafts-impeachment-articles-against-rosenstein-as-last-resort.html

donzelion said...

Gerold: Re: North Korea. "Obviously NK is a creation and client of China."

It is not so obvious to me, and not to many real experts on NK. A creature defended by China? Of course. Controlled by China? No so clear.

Nukes are unique among all weapons: their development is quite hard to hide entirely, and skilled eyes know what to look for. A conventional wisdom holds that the development of nukes is contrary evidence of the existence of a parent/client relationship: the history of every nuclear power ever developed supports that thesis (China refusing to accept the Soviet umbrella; France/Britain/Israel refusing to accept the American umbrella; every other country that made efforts never having experienced such an umbrella).

Most analysts posit that regime failure is the primary threat in NK; should that happen, it's quite possible NK would go the way of E Germany - the Kim family the way of Nicolae Ceaușescu. However, if NK has nukes...then SK cannot overtly try to encourage reunification, China cannot throw its weight around too easily, and if they lose in the end, they can guarantee instead of being marched against a wall and executed, they are given asylum and wealth if they fail.

An alternate narrative posits NK intention to dominate the region through it's nukes. In probability, the rough weighting is 90% "conventional" and <10% probability of 'domination/subjugation' theory. Dr. Brin adds a new theory to the mix - but without evidence of parent/client control, it's less than 1%. This does not mean it is incorrect. Just unproven, unsupported.

As for Trump: using his personality and his considerable fortune, he got his ass handed to him by mere New Jersey bankers, let alone mobsters. Whether anything useful occurs between NK and SK, that will occur mostly in spite of him, rather than because of him. However, his supporters are exceptionally prone to 'correlation = causation' errors, and will assuredly credit him with anything positive that occurs - and blame someone else for anything negative that occurs.

donzelion said...

Occam: "Seriously, why should someone who is liberal support Israel when they are trying to drag us into a war for the benefit of right wing a-holes in Israel?"

An agonizing question, and one fraught with peril. I support the PEOPLE of Israel, and wish them safety, security, prosperity. Netanyahu is a different matter.

But in this, again, I'd direct eyes homeward: the greatest threat to peace is not Israeli warmongers, but those who became wealthy on oil wealth. First though, it's helpful to understand how that wealth works: you take out a 10 or 20 year lease, you trade it through the financial system, you leverage and borrow against production profits, you lever up some more - and suddenly a vast number of American millionaires become near billionaires (and a few billionaires grow much larger) BUT ONLY on paper, and only so long as oil behaves as they expect.

Change the demand? Any new technology could disrupt the value of not only every asset, but all leverage built upon those assets. And that's not just new technologies deployed today, but at any point in the next 10-20 years.

Change the supply? Any new entrant disrupts the anticipated prices. What if ISIS is defeated in Iraq, and Iraqi oil starts to flow in 5 years? What if Iranian oil starts to flow in 5 years in significantly larger amounts?

Netanyahu recognizes that his interests in the Middle East (not war, merely the persistent threat of war and occasional bombardment to reinforce the threat) align neatly with the American oil tycoons. The tycoons were almost completely unscathed in 2003: all eyes went to Halliburton, almost none looked at them (except occasional protests about fracking). They reaped massive windfalls - simply from knowing Iraqi oil would not go onstream for at least 10 years, and how to lever up in face of that.

Those bets being closed out, they're looking to repeat the cycle. The tools that made it possible in 2003 are more robust than ever. Breitbrat can dispense fake intelligence, it will be believed, they know what will happen down to a rough dollar figure. Every threat - to the extent it moves markets - generates profits. Actual war could also generate even greater profits for some, but for most, it's unnecessary - mere threats alone suffice.

And their ultimate hope? Goad the Iranians enough to knock out the Saudis. Then, the profit margins go from vast to obscene.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Winter: "It should be a citizen's right to record police officers and politicians."

In general in America, we do have the 'right to record' police when they are acting publicly. Older, well-established rights apply to monitoring politicians. These currently rest upon the First Amendment, by and large.


There has to be a balance drawn between our right to point and click a camera and another person's right not to be followed and harassed by videographers. But in the specific case of police and politicians on the job, wouldn't that be covered by the same exemptions by which an employer can pretty much violate any aspect of an employee's privacy during work hours? I mean, technically anyway, those are our employees we are monitoring.

occam's comic said...

I guess we agree that the political leadership in Israel is awful.

But I would say my sympathy for the Israeli people has declined by about 95% sense the 1980's. Israel has become fine with the mistreatment of the Palestinians over the decades. The Israeli settlers in Hebron are some of the worst people on the planet.

And people like Sheldon Adelson buying American politicians for Israel should be a major campaign issue in the US.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: Ack, time for me to turn to less than exciting work, where less than interesting questions typically reside...but...

"There has to be a balance drawn between our right to point and click a camera and another person's right not to be followed and harassed by videographers."
That is problem #1 - an important balancing task to be sure, but probably manageable. If we acknowledge what a pan-camera world actually means, relinquishing the untenable fetishes of an old, departed world, we may get there.

Problem #2 though is more subtle to folks in a majority. Videographers cannot necessarily be trusted (eg., Acorn, Planned Parenthood) - often, their incentives are to inflame, rather than accurately record. A remedy of 'more cameras' MAY fail against the human propensity to leap to judgment; prejudice is magnified immensely when some 'Other' is the target.

If a thousand, or a million, cameras show a clearly unarmed black man being executed by police, and a single blurry camera shows the possibility he was armed, that single camera may effectively outweigh all the rest. We must assume such a camera will exist, that it will show its blurry non-evidence, that this non-evidence plus prejudice may outweigh what all the rest show us. We must assume that, because we know there is immense profit in exploiting prejudice.

"But in the specific case of police and politicians on the job, wouldn't that be covered by the same exemptions by which an employer can pretty much violate any aspect of an employee's privacy during work hours?"
Yes and no. Yes, the politician is 'our' employee - we are within our rights to monitor him accordingly - this is the longstanding justification for a free press, esp. of 'public servants.'

But 'no' - because he has his own employees, and what they do could prove more important than what we see him doing: he'll use our thousand/million cameras as a decoy, while pursuing secret designs through others. That's why the fixation on Trump isn't helpful. Sure, a handful of Deep Throat wannabes matter, but the secrets that count operate differently - a million cameras on him will not alter what he (or his subordinates) does if he can deploy one that is effectively amplified by prejudice.

occam's comic said...

"Space is a war fighting domain"

•President Donald Trump floated the idea of developing another service branch, the Space Force.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/13/trump-floats-the-idea-of-creating-a-space-force-to-fight-wars-in-space.html

Remember orbital superiority is global superiority.
And that the Big freaking rocket that Space X is building will be doing some heavy lifting for the militarization of space.

donzelion said...

Occam: Netanyahu's rise to power was ultimately a product of certain Palestinians: he needed Hamas to become the prime minister we know him as, and Hamas needed him as well to displace Fatah (not that Fatah was much better). Now that Hamas is acknowledging Israel's right to exist, and the primary threat to Israel they pose comes from fertility rate differentials rather than bombs, Netanyahu needs another bogeyman to play his games: Iran.

"Israel has become fine with the mistreatment of the Palestinians over the decades."
I have faith, even if the evidence I see infuriates me. I start with a 'prejudice' that Israelis are no different than you and I: all peoples struggle with their own prejudices, all peoples produce their own provocateurs seeking to exploit prejudices to hold power. But provocateurs don't always win.

Adelson doesn't need to 'buy' American politicians for Israel: I see his role as more of a broker, facilitating profitable exchanges by provocateurs on each side, deriving profits himself in turn. Brokers may be 'puppets,' 'puppeteers,' or something else entirely - most often, they're opportunists, shifting roles as needed.

reformed tourist said...

David - your points are, as usual, well taken, including the boilerplate that "you are not convinced, yourself." Points given back in that these are theories to fit the extant data (intelligence analysis deals with capabilities both obvious and extrapolated). The economic aspect is glaring, however.

Re the 6th amendment, just reread "The Transparency Amendment..." and the Judge Posner quote leaped out at me as being illuminating not just in regards to the virtues of transparency, but also in reference to the Korean discussion.

Boiling down the introduction I gave to the essays you recently and graciously allowed me to reprint in another venue to one sentence, the need to avoid reflexive thought and action is more paramount than ever.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

Seriously, why should someone who is liberal support Israel when they are trying to drag us into a war for the benefit of right wing a-holes in Israel?


The Israeli lobby is too powerful for that ever to happen.

I'm no fan of Likud or Netenyahu. However, I will say that I can't be as upset as I probably should be about Jews having too much influence here. It beats the alternative. That said, Jews in this country are not monolithic in their politics, and many (myself included) are just as sick of the right-wing element as you are.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Whether anything useful occurs between NK and SK, that will occur mostly in spite of him, rather than because of him.


I'm willing to give Trump this much--I believe that part of the reason NK and SK are reaching out to each other is that Trump has shown them something more frightening than each other. They may become friends the way Darmok and Jalad did at Tenagra. :)

Or the way the US and Russia did in "Watchmen"

reformed tourist said...

Gerald & Donzelion

Minor point, perhaps, but NK was born in the ashes of WWII, when the US and the Soviet Union divided the peninsula along the 38th parallel. Kim Il Sung was installed by the Soviets. It's worth noting that the PRC was still effectively a client state at that time as well.

The transition to present times with the PRC seeking (and in most ways already established) regional hegemony reinforces David's suggestion of a compelling economic incentive as well as the established pattern of NK's "diplomatic" initiatives. Also, the cessation of direct hostilities with the 1953 armistice in the "Police Action" should not be considered a period; it is at best a semi-colon. The "Police
Action continues, apparently ad infinitum (last 65 years of official US policy and UN Resolutions 82-85 that remain in effect).

As a coda, it is fairly commonly held that the TPP was more about geopolitical constraints rather than economic, but the economic effects are (would have been) real (if not necessarily a great deal for consumers and labor).

occam's comic said...

I feel for you Larry,
I am of Irish decent and was raised Catholic, and I wanted Catholics in Northern Ireland to be treated fairly and with dignity and respect. But I could never support the violence and terrorism that the IRA engaged in. And I think the relatively poor support for the IRA means and methods is one of the reasons that the situation in northern Ireland has gotten better.

The situation that Israel finds itself in is pretty horrible and I think that part of the reason it has gotten so bad is because of the unquestioning support it has received from America in general and American jews in particular. If there is to be a just settlement of the Israeli / Palestinian conflict Israel will have to make some really painful sacrifices, and they will only do that when making those sacrifices is easier than continuing with the status quo.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "I'm willing to give Trump this much--I believe that part of the reason NK and SK are reaching out to each other is that Trump has shown them something more frightening than each other."

Maybe, but I stand by correlation/causation concerns. Here's the evidence I see: Trump came to office huffing and puffing; NK tested its nukes. Trump huffed and puffed louder; NK tested again, this time ICBMs. Trump screamed even louder: NK tortured an American citizen to death. Trump dispatches Pence with the Dad of that citizen to the Olympics to put him on camera: NK cheerleaders showed up - but NK refrained from bombing this Olympics. What does that mean?

Possibility 1: NK is testing because they are scared of Trump. Their change in posture and action in talking peace is based on fear Trump may crush them.
Possibility 2: NK is testing because they are scared - of both China, SK, and many others. They dispatched cheerleaders rather than terrorists for the same reason they build trophy amusement parks while the nation crumbles: a long-term effort to obfuscate the wretched decrepitude of a nation they've built. They're so scared of SK that they want to at least open a door toward peace negotiations - so that if things go wrong and the miserable cabal is ousted, they can plausibly find asylum somewhere.
Possibility 3: NK is a Chinese puppet, and Chinese puppeteers are playing a game with Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington using NK.
Possibility 4: something else.

The probability I assign to these possibilities may differ from yours, or Dr. Brin's. But I think my version best fits the facts we have for now (and I can't claim credit for it: experts who've analyzed Korea far more closely posited this elsewhere).

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

Change the supply? Any new entrant disrupts the anticipated prices. What if ISIS is defeated in Iraq, and Iraqi oil starts to flow in 5 years? What if Iranian oil starts to flow in 5 years in significantly larger amounts?


Exactly why they are so fiercely against peace breaking out between Iran and the West. And so many of the American people are falling for it. "A peaceful, educated Iran and cheap gasoline for our cars? Can't have that! EEEEEEEEVIL."

occam's comic said...

Larry
Do you think that the Israel lobby would work to prevent real campaign finance reform? Something like, citizen vouchers to fund your choice for house, senate and presidency along with very high taxes (50%) on campaign contributions above something like 500 dollars.

LarryHart said...

occam's comic:

Do you think that the Israel lobby would work to prevent real campaign finance reform?


Probably, and for the same reason that Wyoming would fight to keep the Electoral College in place.

locumranch said...


Gerold points out that 'light' is a non-magical tool that accomplishes nothing in the way of social reform in & of itself, and I concur completely. This, too, is the problem with Transparency as it also accomplishes nothing in & of itself besides the mere identification of what was once hidden.

David assumes that the light-mediated process of revelation will trigger some sort of magical shame & guilt cascade that will lead inevitably (?) to moral self-correction. This is where David & I part ways as I argue the opposite.

I argue that the revelation of hidden moral corruptions will lead to HABITUATION, causing the virtual elimination of both shame & guilt, and with it the inclination to either recognise or eliminate moral corruptions, much in the same way that the popularisation of homosexuality & the woman's right to choose has led to the social acceptance and legalisation of both sodomy & abortion, events that were thought 'inconceivable' less than 75 years ago.

Of course, my habituation argument appears to be well-supported by empiric observation, while David's shame & guilt cascade (leading to moral correction) is NOT supported by observation, as evidenced by the decline of secularism & our increased tolerance for all forms of Black, Muslim, Hindi, Asian, Jewish & White Nationalism, also known as 'Identity Politics'.

Now, consider the so-called sin of Dishonesty that was once considered unforgivable in those societies that valued honour, and see how incessant accusations of 'lying' tend to backfire by habituating & desensitising the general public to dishonesty, and (in turn) lead to an increased general tolerance for lies & liars.

There are numerous studies that show that westerners are more accepting of lies & liars than ever before (1)(2)(3), and even our scrupulously honest host David ADMITS that he favours the promulgation of "positive" lies, deceits & dissimulations over & above that of observable reality.

(1) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214003185
(2) https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/articles/199705/the-truth-about-lying
(3) https://www.umass.edu/newsoffice/article/umass-amherst-researcher-finds-most-people-lie-everyday-conversation

In fact, lying liars & the lies they tell appear to be so well-accepted by our declining western culture that our society now REQUIRES a steady diet of lies even to function, leading us to lie about everything from divisive identity politics "being our strength" to the so-called 'democratic' nature of our western oligarchy and the mutual compatibility of both the merit system & radical equalism, even though many of our lies appear to be coming home to roost.

And, roost they have, in a manner the presages our imminent destruction, mostly because our growing tolerance of both lying liars & the lies they tell is incompatible with enlightenment science.


Best
____

The above comments about the state of Israel demonstrate the prevalence of dissimulation, especially among those who self-identify as liberal progressives & support "the people of Israel but not the repressive nation", even though the people of Israel would have been exterminated to the last man, woman & child by their "peace-loving" (haha) Palestinian & Arab neighbours if not for the repressive nation of Israel. Of course, these really 'progressive' lying liars really mean the opposite as they would support the exterminate of Israel (nation & people) if it meant the validation of their POSITIVE DELUSIONS about universal brotherly love. Like in progressive South Africa where enlightened minority whites eliminated Apartheid only to have the new black-only government reestablish the same racially separatist policies against minority whites. Because 'Enlightenment'.

occam's comic said...

Hey Locum
There was never anything wrong with sodomy and homosexuality. And the way you obsess over that topic makes me think you are really curious.

You should just go give it a try.
Find some nice gay man (try the Log Cabin Republicans) and get your ya ya's out . It sounds to me that you are lonely and could use some good hot lovin from some hunky guy.

Jon S. said...

Our definition of "sodomy" is also wrong. Ezekiel 16:49 spells it out explicitly:

"Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy."

The sin committed by the crowd outside Lot's house wasn't homosexuality; it was a desire to harm visiting strangers. Lot even tried pimping his teenage daughters to the crowd, and he's accounted as "righteous".

Sorry, loco, but the sin of Sodom is being committed daily by your Republican buddies in Congress and the White House. Maybe if they tried sodomy, they'd be less Sodom-like - I can't really say, not being into it myself, but hey, it's worth a shot, right?

donzelion said...

reformed tourist: "NK was born in the ashes of WWII..."
Indeed, but there's a couple pieces easily overlooked:

(1) One historian put these words in MacArthur's mouth: "I could have won the war in Korea in a maximum of 10 days.... I would have dropped between 30 and 50 atomic bombs on his air bases and other depots strung across the neck of Manchuria..." True or not, the claim is credible: an existential threat that simply could not be ignored. But how to respond?

If NK was a client state, one would expect them to rest (perhaps uncomfortably) under either a Soviet or Chinese nuclear umbrella. They didn't. They strove to develop nukes of their own, at extreme cost (much of it borne openly, observed and monitored).

(2) Whatever the force Chinese brought to bear in NK to repel the American-led UN force, America brought a level of force orders of magnitude greater than that to bear against Iraq (1990/2003), Afghanistan (2001)...but did we actually wield control over the 'puppet' governments we installed? Perhaps we never even wanted to practice puppeteering. Or perhaps the Chinese are far better puppeteers than we. Or Koreans are more pliant than Afghans or Iraqis.

Lots of possibilities: I try look to evidence to weigh them in turn, or entrust that task to experts (provided they are 'true experts', rather than paid hacks regurgitating conventions on offer). Even the best scientist occasionally errs - but that does not mean I may substitute my judgment about a field of study in which I am ignorant as equivalent to theirs in which they are not ignorant.

it is fairly commonly held that the TPP was more about geopolitical constraints rather than economic
My view as well, and my read on most trade arrangements ultimately.

the economic effects are (would have been) real (if not necessarily a great deal for consumers and labor).
More problematic - but bear in mind, American laborers "win" more in trade the more widely legal norms are honored; where norms are flagrantly violated, labor loses and rentiers (feudalists) win. Immediately after NAFTA, far from a 'sucking sound of American jobs moving to Mexico' - America had the first extended uptick in real wages, low unemployment and protracted real growth for the first time in decades. After China joined the WTO, that reversed dramatically. That, to me, better accounts for what effects should have been expected (labor, like many others, would think I'm an idiot - as they thought of Obama...I may be, he was not).

donzelion said...

Jon S: In addition to Ezekiel's definition, we have our own historical statutes we could look at. Turns out, oral sex is sodomy as much as anal. The Supreme Court actually looked wryly at that and wondered why a sexual act performed at some time by 95% or more of Americans was deemed so immoral as to be illegal (let alone the irony that it was only enforced against homosexuals).

"Lot even tried pimping his teenage daughters to the crowd, and he's accounted as "righteous"."
A double-edged irony, that one. And most overlook him subsequently sleeping with his daughters to father the Moabites and Ammonites. A rather different concept of family bonds...Lots' defenders (I suppose he has lots of em) suggest these must have been his daughters-in-law (though that raises a problem, as one would expect them to no longer be virgins)...

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "Exactly why they are so fiercely against peace breaking out between Iran and the West. And so many of the American people are falling for it. "A peaceful, educated Iran and cheap gasoline for our cars? Can't have that! EEEEEEEEVIL."

Exactly. And the saddest fact of all: instead of looking at the feudal lords being feudal lords (but with modern commodity brokerages empowering them), we wasted our time fixating upon Bush & Friends. The camera decoy ploy has now been practiced and perfected: our guardians will scrutinize the little red flag they waved to get our attention, ignoring the sleight of hand that takes the rogues into the big leagues.

Trump wants a 'dialogue' with the Mullahs - and they want it in turn. The provocateurs on all sides profit from the outrageous offenses of the other provocateurs. And we fact-bound moderates, gripe and get distracted, or target one another fruitlessly, rather than thinking, learning, and getting better at our craft. As I am now...

gerold said...

David Brin said...

Yes, transparency CAN have the win-win you describe, but the essential ingredient is a socialtrend to accept/preotect diversity/eccentricity and to despise homogeneity. Otherwise, in a society that admires homogeneity, transparency will be used to enforce it.



Absolutely - and that is one of the outstanding trends of Western cultural evolution over the last 50 years. Compare the conformist 50's (aka "the good old days" for conservatives) to the 21st century acceptance of diversity in all forms.

Advent of the Surveillance Society will accelerate the obsolescence of shame-based conformity enforcement. Internet porn is helping too. Laws against obscenity will soon go the way of heresy laws. Let it all hang out, worst you'll get are some grimaces or smirks.

Taboos against nudity and public displays of affection are being phased-out of Western cultural norms. Good riddance. Surveillance will also put increased downward pressure on violent crime, also relaxing restrictions against what used to be called deviant behavior.

Bring on the cameras. Enlightenment needs illumination. We as citizens of a free society can and will ensure that government uses these powers for good instead of evil.

gerold said...

donzelion said...
Gerold: Re: North Korea. "Obviously NK is a creation and client of China."

It is not so obvious to me, and not to many real experts on NK. A creature defended by China? Of course. Controlled by China? No so clear.


I make the distinction between being a client state created by China, versus being a puppet state controlled by China. No one has suggested that China orchestrates the minutiae of NK despotism. But they did create NK during the Korean War. China sacrificed enormous numbers to sustain the original Kim. I've seen estimates in the half million range for Chinese casualties. Even for Mao those were significant numbers. Making that kind of sacrifice plants a stake in the ground, difficult to pull up.

The relationship goes well beyond the initial creation however. NK has been on the brink of starvation for decades. China has chosen to keep their junkyard dog alive, when it would have been easy to pull the plug. It's been suggested that they refrained to avoid a refugee crisis, and it's a plausible explanation. But they could also simply bar Korean refugees from entering China, and force the South to deal with it.

It's also been suggested that China is loath to permit re-unification because it would eliminate their buffer state, allowing American troops to be stationed against the Chinese border. Plausible. But SK has lost their appetite for re-unification. After seeing the costs of German re-unification (SK has sent delegations to Germany to study how the process went) it doesn't look very attractive.

It may be that NK primarily serves to boost Chinese notions of national greatness. China needs an empire to Make China Great Again; the conquered territory in Tibet, the Vassal State in Korea, the artificial islands in the South China Sea. Don't under-estimate the power of pathological psychology.

Still, it looks bad. We have the very clear outcome of a socio-political experiment: NK as a Chinese client state, versus SK as a US client state. Ouch.

gerold said...

locum writes: "Because Enlightenment"

Yikes.

Your posts today have contained a curious blend of insight and - excuse my Old Norse - balderdash.

On the plus side: it's sad and puzzling how progressives highlight the repressive measures of Israelis while ignoring how Muslims caused them. Palestinians and the entire Muslim world still make the destruction of Israel their long-term goal. That's a billion Muslims at war with Israel. Violence is a traditional feature of wartime, and the Israelis have actually been pretty restrained. If the Muslim middle east adopted a symbiotic relationship with Israel instead of a hostile one, both sides would benefit greatly. But the hostility originates entirely on one side, and they fully deserve the consequences. We can only hope they eventually learn.

So full credit to you locum for recognizing this simple truth, one that that seems so elusive to those who should know better.

But then there's your rigidly hierarchical dogma of tops-down social control; yikes again.

Burke made the argument that conservative adherence to tradition is always preferable to untested social innovation. During the upheaval of the French Revolution that position could at least be defended. But this is the 21st century, a time where rapid social evolution is a matter of life or death. Reactionary rigidity represents a clear and present danger to the survival of the planet. Adapt or die. Prejudice is no substitute for knowledge, and indoctrination can't compete with learning. Creativity beats obedience. A turkey with just a right wing can only fly in circles. If you catch my drift.

donzelion said...

gerold: "But [China] did create NK during the Korean War."
No doubt. American analysts at the time were deeply puzzled by the Chinese human wave attacks, which were initially unsupported by Russian aircraft (despite the fact that the aircraft should have been far more mobile than the Chinese ground forces). Scholars of Russo-Chinese relations have speculated that this may have been the first seeds of the breach between the two.

In any event, Soviets summoned Kim to Moscow in 1956 and, possibly in tandem with Chinese, instigated a partial coup attempt, which Kim returned and repulsed. After that, evidence has been raised of the NK nuclear ambitions.

None of that was a common story in America at the time: it wouldn't be until much later that we realized that the monolithic Commie bloc wasn't quite such a monolith after all.

"Making that kind of sacrifice plants a stake in the ground, difficult to pull up."
No doubt. Yet to a Korean? The Americans/UN were only the 'newest' occupiers - as the Japanese had been before them, and the Chinese before them in turn. Nationalism can be quite powerful, particularly when a country is a plaything of regional hegemons.

"NK has been on the brink of starvation for decades."
And when they crossed the brink into actual starvation - in the 90s - the Chinese ignored it, until nuclear disarmament talks looked more promising. Was it a ploy? A feint? Possible. Kim got fat. His son, fatter.

"China has chosen to keep their junkyard dog alive...It's been suggested that they refrained to avoid a refugee crisis,"
I'll point out that the experts I've read (Chinese, Korean, and American) do find that the most plausible account. They also did bar Korean refugees from entering China, expanding minimal border checkpoints into a larger fence, and repatriating NK refugees.

I do not know which way SK would go if given the option to admit NK - without war, and to avoid humanitarian collapse in NK. The Olympics provided a bit of a test. SK appeared enormously enthusiastic about symbolism of a united Korea - but I think most people are skeptical, and do not believe it to be worth pursuing given the risk and cost.

"China needs an empire to Make China Great Again; the conquered territory in Tibet,"
Every Chinese person I've spoken to, from businessmen through diplomats through college students, though Tibet was ultimately about water: whoever controls that corner of Asia controls much of the water supply for a billion people. I was less impressed by the claim (yes, the Tibetan plateau is the world's largest freshwater supply, but no, that doesn't mean that water is accessible) - so much as by the consistency of the dogma.

"Still, it looks bad. We have the very clear outcome of a socio-political experiment: NK as a Chinese client state, versus SK as a US client state. Ouch."
I assure you, SK is NOT a US client state, presence of military bases notwithstanding. We're really bad with our clients, and worse with our protectorates. We can't even keep the power running in Puerto Rico months after a hurricane, and there are Guamanians who actually fear we could 'knock their island over' - and for Micronesia, aside from its use as a base for dial-a-porn '866' numbers, and nuclear scientists, the dependency hasn't worked so well. ;-)

donzelion said...

gerold - gadzooks that was long-winded. Hope you like it here if you're new (you're new to me, at least) - most others who swing by are less long-winded than I, but most also enjoy an interesting debate - which is what brings me here. There's no score to keep; just thought to share.

donzelion said...

gerold - as for this - "Palestinians and the entire Muslim world still make the destruction of Israel their long-term goal."

That's incorrect. The Organization of the Islamic Conference stopped calling for that in the 1980s; the Saudis were actively endorsing land-for-peace 20 years ago, the Egyptians actually made such a swap in 1979, the Jordanians in 1994. Iran and Hamas were the two outliers - and even Hamas revised its 'charter' to eliminate wording calling for Israel's destruction.

"That's a billion Muslims at war with Israel."
That will be news to 99.9% of them (including most Syrians, who are actually, technically, still at war with Israel, at least to the extent they have a government able to be at war with anybody other than other Syrians).

"Violence is a traditional feature of wartime, and the Israelis have actually been pretty restrained."
Spend some time on the ground on both sides, you may find a very different sort of story. I did.

"If the Muslim middle east adopted a symbiotic relationship with Israel instead of a hostile one, both sides would benefit greatly. But the hostility originates entirely on one side,"
No argument there, but unlike NK/SK, where my depth is limited to reading third hand accounts and sifting the work product of experts, in this region, I've spent the decades to amass a more than average understanding.

Let's just say the story of provocateurs using provocateurism to take power is one that recurs frequently, here as well as pretty much everywhere else. In this, they're no better, and no worse, than we.

Anonymous said...

occam's comic:
“So does anyone think that elected Democrats will do anything punish Israel for trying to drag us into another war in the middle east?”

¿Why do they want to involve Israel in the wars in the area?
Israel is not guilty of the wars in the East. That is evident. They only defend themselves from those who attack them. Yes. They took territory from Syria, but that was after the Syrians almost annihilated Israel with a surprising and overwhelming invasion of Russian tanks. After that cowardly act of aggression carried out by the Syrians, taking a large swathe of territory that serves as "no man's land" and as a "zone of vital space" or as a zone of "keeping a distance" has been a very intelligent measure .
Was it the Israeli government that invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan? Do not.
So I find no sense in involving Israel in the wars in the Middle East.
I remember that, in its beginnings, the small Hebrew population in Israel was besieged by the Arabs. The transports with food were ambushed. The Arabs tried to starve the Israelites. But they did not succeed thanks to the excellent strategies of the small Israeli army. (They only had one tank at the beginning).
I am catholic; so I can see the matter in an impartial way.
Winter7

donzelion said...

Ah, Winter, matters in the Middle East are seldom so clear as that. We pick 'our side' and see all the evidence in the light most favorable to them, without even realizing it.

"They took territory from Syria, but that was after the Syrians almost annihilated Israel with a surprising and overwhelming invasion of Russian tanks."
Not quite: they captured the Golan Heights during the '67 War, when Israel launched a surprise attack on Egypt (obliterating its air force in the first few minutes of the war). The surprise Syrian attack you refer to was the October '73 War, which Syria and Egypt did launch by surprise.

In terms of cowardice, if you regard '73 as cowardice by the Arabs, then you would also regard '67 as cowardice by the Israelis. I don't regard either as cowardly at all.

If you want to talk about the '67 War, the cassus belli was the Egyptian blockade of Aqaba and Suez - which in turn was justified by Israeli attacks on the region in the '56 War, when Israel + France + Britain invaded and nearly captured Sinai (repulsed not by Nasser's arms, but American + Soviet cooperation at the UN) (also in contravention of international law).

Go back further, and for every Arab raid on Jewish settlers, you'll find Jewish raids on Arabs, as well as evictions from homes perpetrated at first by rump Ottoman authorities (who motivated Arab revolt in that region), then by British authorities, as well as Jewish gangs. Go back further still...well, by the time of the Crusades, recall that Muslim and Jew fought side by side to repulse crazy Catholic crusaders who killed them all in the 1st Crusade (and then all the sides started splintering into a muck in the sequels, until the Christians started invading Christian countries and sacked Constantinople) - and the complexity is mind boggling.

In terms of inherent anti-Jewish sentiment among the Arab Semites (who are every bit as Semitic as Jews), one intriguing fact is often overlooked: the reason there is an 'Armenian Quarter' in Jerusalem (as well as large pools of Armenian refugees in Syria and Lebanon) involves their reception to refugees. They took in Christians, they took in Jews. It could have worked that way, and resulted in a new country good for everyone.

The tragedy of Israel/Palestine is the work of provocateurs run amok, unchecked, exceptionally skilled at deploying propaganda. Whether those provocateurs are Arab bastards (the Grand Mufti), Jewish bastards (Irgun, the Stern Gang - that Jewish group that sought Hitler's aid to kill British), or Christian bastards - there are too many bastards running around amassing armies, and not enough moderates building something beautiful.

All that said -
"So I find no sense in involving Israel in the wars in the Middle East."
I don't either.

Alfred Differ said...

@donzelion | become acquainted with how a prosecutor uses your records against you

My first thoughts on that were close. A few years ago, I pondered how an insurer would use black box information from my car against me. Thousands of hours of good behavior can be undone in a few stupidly handled seconds. As a result, I don’t run my dash cam and microphone all the time. They are for times when I think the risks are justified.

I think you make a fair argument for avoiding reliance on amendment #6 and David makes one for being ABLE to use it. Personally, I’m inclined to record, encrypt, and not mention that I am at the moment. In that, I think of it a bit like gun ownership. I’m allowed to buy them, but I don’t have to say that I have one or that I don’t. If I’m not harming anyone and they aren’t being used by others to harm anyone, I can continue to do so without bothering to mention it. Up until the point where I am required to answer truthfully to LE questions, silence is a decent first line defense. After that point, I’ll buy advice and do what makes sense. 8)

I’ll have to see what some of my libertarian friends think of treating a camera under amendment #2. Should be amusing. 8)

Anonymous said...



donzelion:
I suppose I confused the moment of the annexation of the Golan Heights. In any case, the Hebrews have been continually harassed. It is logical that they defend themselves.
In addition, at the time that Israel launched the attack on the Egyptian airstrips, (those are attacks, not the simulations of Donald), the Egyptians already had their troops on the border with Israel. So…
In addition, the Israelis are the most reliable allies in the area. ¿Should we trust the Saudis? ¡A Saudi prince imprisoned his own family to seize power! ¡Saudi leaders treat their own family members as animals! ¡Imagine what they could do to us, that we are not their relatives!

Winter7

Anonymous said...

t seems that Mark Zuckerberg has not learned the lesson. Sometimes, people who fall, tend to be in shock, and act without thinking about what they do.
After the scandal in which Russian hackers used Facebook as a weapon, Mark Zuckerberg now wants to organize a romantic dating service on Facebook. And we already know that dating websites have always been the paradisiacal hunting territory of sexual predators!
For the flamed underpants of Miley Ray Cyrus! And I thought I was reckless! Maybe some silicon valley geniuses only have a good idea in life.
Link to the news:
https://phys.org/news/2018-05-zuckerberg-facebook-dating.html
In spanish:
Parece que Mark Zuckerberg no ha aprendido la lección. A veces, las personas que caen, tienden a estar en estado de shock, y actúan sin pensar en lo que hacen.
Después del escándalo en el que hackers rusos usaron Facebook como arma, ahora Mark Zuckerberg desea organizar en Facebook un servicio de citas románticas. ¡Y ya sabemos que los sitios web de citas siempre han sido el paradisiaco territorio de caza de los depredadores sexuales!
¡Por los calzoncillos flameados de Miley Ray Cyrus!. Y yo que pensé que yo era imprudente!.. Quizás algunos genios del valle del silicón sólo tienen una buena idea en la vida.
Link a la noticia:
https://phys.org/news/2018-05-zuckerberg-facebook-dating.html

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign the news of Facebook.

Winter7

Anonymous said...

“As a result, I don’t run my dash cam and microphone all the time. They are for times when I think the risks are justified”
The problem is that accidents happen in an unforeseen way. Accidents do not warn us that they are coming. Consequently, it is better to record at all times. (And try to drive carefully)

Winter7

donzelion said...

Winter: LOL, it's ok. I don't mean to show off. For NK/SK, I'm googling away to check my facts; I've read some of the best analysis, but it's not my area of expertise. For the Middle East, I don't have to check my facts to know they're right.

"the Hebrews have been continually harassed."
Yes, but then again, recheck the history of the Moabites and Ammonites - you'll find they also committed genocide, also harassed others. History is complex. Judgments based upon it are more likely to reflect prejudice. Best avoided.

But Israel is important to a discussion about cameras: no other country has so powerfully demonstrated the ability to control 'the accepted story' - to punish those who dissent, or are insufficiently loyal. Netanyahu, more than any other man alive, demonstrates how easily a cunning figure can manipulate footage: whereas other men had celebrated military careers, WON ACTUAL WARS, killed actual enemies (with their bare hands), destroyed actual threats - he 'appears' strong! He needs to keep an enemy around to 'fight' to maintain that image - but he can never risk destroying that enemy, as then the image fades. Whereas Rabin, Barak, Sharon, and others actually were 'strong' - Netanyahu stays in power by mastering the 'appearance' of strength.

So too in America: Bush 'saved us from any more terrorism' - by fighting two wars that cost a trillion dollars and thousands of American lives - AND NEVER KILLED THE GUY WHO ATTACKED US. Yet he's praised as 'strong.' Obama kills that guy - and looks weak. FauxNews accounts for maybe 30-40% of that.

"In addition, the Israelis are the most reliable allies in the area."
A common claim. Here's one piece of evidence to consider: how many Israeli soldiers died in any armed conflict protecting American lives? How many American lives have Israeli soldiers taken? By that measure, Turkey takes the lead (they saved the whole 8th Army in the longest retreat in US Army history...in NK). There are many other measures.

"Should we trust the Saudis?"
I don't trust anybody. ;-)

"Saudi leaders treat their own family members as animals!"
Let me assure you, the Ritz Carlton (the largest Ritz 'property' in the world) where they housed the royals and notables they arrested were not treated as animals while sitting there. The food sucked when I was there. But I'm sure it's gotten better.

There was a BIT (and just a tiny bit) of house-cleaning afoot: the royals who got the worst treatment had done some pretty nasty things (e.g., Turki bin Saud Al Kabir - who was executed after pleading guilty to shooting a 'friend' he got in a fight with). There are quite a few who believed themselves above the law (or rather, entitled to ALL the money in the Kingdom) - reining that in isn't entirely a tragedy, even if some cases may have been improper.

donzelion said...

Alfred: "I think you make a fair argument for avoiding reliance on amendment #6"

Mind you, my argument is against relying on it for a 'general right to record at all times one wishes to do so.' I do not think Dr. Brin or I disagree about 'being able to use it.'

"Personally, I’m inclined to record, encrypt, and not mention that I am at the moment."
Um...please don't do that of other people in California without their consent. And if you must do so, please delete your post and don't confess to doing so in writing. ;-)

And that's really where the 'right to record' becomes a problem: recording other people (which, ultimately, is MOST of what we'd wish to record). If our recording of others is ALWAYS justified because we 'might need to defend ourselves in a trial' - and their recording of us is similarly justified - then we are permanently in 'trial posture.' Nobody who has actually gone through that wants to live their lives that way.

"I’ll have to see what some of my libertarian friends think of treating a camera under amendment #2. Should be amusing."
I am curious. If they engage with the idea seriously...the thing I like best about the 2nd is that it directly ties to a point you've often made about the peasants and their pitchforks. Far better if they attack with a lot of cameras...

gerold said...

donzelion - you make a lot of good points - but I have to ask about a couple.

Re: Korea. "I assure you, SK is NOT a US client state, presence of military bases notwithstanding. We're really bad with our clients, and worse with our protectorates."

That is some peculiar hair-splitting. Client state? Protectorate? Ally? Whatever you call it, SK have developed from a position of utter poverty and complete devastation into a rich, free nation in a very short time. In 1955 SK had a lower per capita GNP than Ghana. Today it's a 21st century leader. SK developed under American protection and within a global socio-political-economic system patterned along Western lines. SK took Western norms as their guide and Western success as their goal. Look where it got them.

In contrast, NK evolved under Chinese protection, within the Chinese East-Asian co-prosperity sphere (haha). The putative "philosophy" of Juche guiding NK development is a miniature version of Maoist self-sufficiency, collectivism, and totalitarian control. Look where it got them.

Whether we call them protectorates, vassals, allies or whatever you like, the divergent evolution of the two Koreas are a clear reflection of the influences guiding them. If you look at history from a World System perspective, it's clear which system works better. We can decry the crimes and blunders of American demi-imperialism (there have been plenty of both) but lets not pretend the successes don't exist.The two Koreas are undeniable facts.

Re: Israel. You speak of provocateurs all around, but for me the key period was the 1920's, when the Zionist experiment was just getting started. You mention the Grand Mufti, so you know the role played by Muslim clerics insuring institutional Islamic hostility to Jewish immigration. That's not a "provocateur". That is the official policy of Muslim authority. Had Islam played the kind of tolerant role we all know they should have, way back in the 20's, the middle east would look completely different today. There never would have been a Stern Gang, and Jewish capital, organisation, and global networking could have created a middle eastern miracle long before it happened in East Asia. Beirut could have been the Singapore of the Levant as well as the Paris.

But instead the doctrine of Muslim Supremacy dictated a future of war and misery. Give the credit where credit is due.

As a result Israel is an occupying power, oppressing the Palestinians and doing the things oppressive occupiers do. But give the credit where credit is due. Islam dictated the terms of that relationship because Muslim theocracy is a system of ideological totalitarianism. Why do you think atheists in Bangladesh are supposed to be chopped into pieces? Why do mobs burn "heretics" alive in Pakistan? They deviated. They disobeyed. They refused to abide by the terms of Muslim Supremacy. So, like uppity Jews, they must be destroyed.

No one who values human dignity and freedom can support that program.

LarryHart said...

gerold:

Your posts today have contained a curious blend of insight and - excuse my Old Norse - balderdash.


You must be new here. :) That's pretty standard locumranch.


On the plus side: it's sad and puzzling how progressives highlight the repressive measures of Israelis while ignoring how Muslims caused them. Palestinians and the entire Muslim world still make the destruction of Israel their long-term goal.


As a Jewish liberal myself, I am as mystified at the seeming alliance between Israel and right-wing authoritarianism as I am at that between liberalism and misogynistic, theocratic, authoritarian Islam.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

We can't even keep the power running in Puerto Rico months after a hurricane,


Which only shows how far "we" have fallen since January 2017.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

which in turn was justified by Israeli attacks on the region in the '56 War, when Israel + France + Britain invaded and nearly captured Sinai (repulsed not by Nasser's arms, but American + Soviet cooperation at the UN) (also in contravention of international law).


I wasn't born at that time, but my dad was in the navy then, and he explained that period almost word for word as you do. I don't understand all of the nuances that caused the sides to be drawn up as they apparently were, but I find it fascinating to contemplate.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:
Whereas Rabin, Barak, Sharon, and others actually were 'strong' - Netanyahu stays in power by mastering the 'appearance' of strength.


Geez, who does that remind you of?

locumranch said...


Many thanks to Occam & Jon_S for proving my point about HABITUATION so eloquently with their rather ardent & celebratory defence of anal penetration, a position that would have been 'inconceivable' a mere 75 years ago after been condemned for thousands of years by the Abrahamic religions.

Donzelion then chimes in with his attempts to absolve Arabs & Palestinians of primary responsibility in the Israeli conflict by pointing out, ya know, how the Jews HAVE to be responsible because everybody hates them away, and even Larry_H points how port-hurricane Puerto Rico remains an impoverished shithole mostly because it has ALWAYS been an impoverished shithole (as confirmed by my Puerto Rican colleague).

Human beings, it appears, can adapt & habituate themselves to damn-near every type of moral corruption that our progressive hold to be 'inconceivable', as in the case of the most popular & profitable form of cinema ever created by man, the slasher film, which indicates a growing demand for actual snuff films.

Very soon, no doubt, Occam & Jon_S will mount (after each other) an equally ardent & celebratory demand for snuff films, too.


Best

LarryHart said...

Credit MSNBC commentator and author of "The Plot To Hack America", Malcolm Nance with this one:

MAGA means "Mueller Ain't Goin' Away!"

reformed tourist said...

Donzelion and Gerold -

Donzelion said: "Or perhaps the Chinese are far better puppeteers than we." That is both a specific truth in this circumstance and a general one that applies to the current geopolitical arena.

Throughout history and particularly post WWII, through the cold war, and now in both the Middle East conflicts and elsewhere, the emphatic use of surrogates by the superpowers (and others) is the strategy and tactic of choice.

The US has employed this through primarily overt economic means, with some "covert" activities (rendition). Others including the Soviet Union (when it existed), Russia, China, and, in fact, various Middle East and Gulf states, have similarly used other countries as surrogates. The concept of Puppets has become essentially passe with the fall of the iron and bamboo curtains.

Re NK, during the formative and active stages of the Police Action, China was yet in thrall and dependent on the Soviet Union and was essentially a puppet, while NK was a tier below - still ostensibly directly tied to the Soviets. Multi-layered gamesmanship was and remains in play. The Chinese acted in accordance with the Soviet plan, but had their own future in mind. As did NK, though plainly with significantly fewer resources and avenues; therefore with greater constraints. And it remains so.

Gerold made mention of US "confusion" about Chinese tactics - this may have been true of some US military analysts, but the US had very fresh memories of similar Japanese methodology - the primary difference was the sheer numbers of soldiers that China was willing to expend in such a way. It is notable that this tactic was only applied on the ground - lacking the internal industrial capability (and dependent on the Soviet Union for material aid), neither China or NK could deploy assets in such a way in either air or sea mediums to support their ground initiative. I might add that the Soviets made the calculation that quantity was more important than cutting edge technology given their experience and capability through WWII and much of the cold war e.g. armor and aircraft design and production - which they then doled out in extremely measured amounts to their puppets and surrogates; AK-47s and RPGs on the other hand...

In the present day, it is a given China has developed their industrial capacity - NK has not been able to which takes us back to Dr. Brin's economic point.

As to the discussion re the ME conflict, again I would point to surrogacy and meta-agendas. The current situation derives from from the rise of OPEC (traceable to Kissinger convincing Nixon to rapidly reduce the Vietnam War debt as a way to calm domestic unrest - one of Kissinger's worst calls), and the desire of the rest of the Arab world (many of them Soviet surrogates) to use the Palestinians as a flash point, not simply to up the ante against Israel, but also to provide cover to the newly discovered ability to become a major player on the world stage through controlling the petrodollar flow (anybody remember the definition of a "Water Economy?" Derived from when the pharaohs controlled the Nile?). The Arab states chose to use the Palestinians as pawns rather than directly provide them humanitarian aid and/or relocation.

It was this origin that provided the vector that ultimately presented the world with the Hussein's Irag, al-Assad's Syria. Taliban, Al-Qaeda, ISIL etc.

And again, all entities beholden to others in lesser or greater ways and ALL retaining their own agendas and goals. And yet again, we are back to the economic issue(s) as we see forms of economic warfare being executed below the radar (violation of Open Skies agreement etc) and threatened above it (tariff/trade wars).

It is easy to get lost in the weeds in these discussions, but keeping an over-arching view of the entire stage helps understand the play a bit better, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Donzelion:
It is sad that the Israelites and the Palestinians continue eternally with hate wars. I suppose that after so many centuries of wars, it would be very difficult to achieve peace in the area.
I remember that Buddhist ideas are very pacifist. If we flooded the area with the philosophies of Buddhism, perhaps we could change the thinking of enough people in the area, the people needed to start a movement for peace. (music, "Imagine" as background of the commentary) It is also possible to create a large publicity campaign around: They could create settlements in the desert, created by Hebrews and Palestinians, working together, sowing together, living in peace.
We could even create a telenovela (soap opera) (novel for television) about romances between Palestinian girls and Jewish boys.
Let's get to the heart of the contenders.
(I know, this comment does not match other comments, but solutions in North Korea or in Saudi Arabia are not applicable in Israel.)

Winter7

In spanish:
Donzelion:
Es triste que los Israelitas y los palestinos continúen eternamente con guerras de odio. Supongo que después de tantos siglos de guerras, sería muy difícil alcanzar la paz en la zona.
Recuerdo que las ideas budistas son muy pacifistas. Si inundáramos la zona con las filosofías del budismo, quizás podríamos cambiar la forma de pensar de suficientes personas en la zona, las personas necesarias para iniciar un movimiento en pro de la paz. (música, “Imagina” como fondo del comentario) También es posible crear una gran campaña de publicidad en torno a: Podrían crear asentamientos en el desierto, creados por hebreos y palestinos, trabajando juntos, sembrando juntos, viviendo en paz.
Incluso, podríamos crear una telenovela sobre romances entre chicas palestinas y chicos judíos.
Lleguemos al corazón de los contendientes.
(Lo se, este comentario no coincide con otros comentarios. Pero las soluciones en Corea del norte o en arabia saudita no son aplicables en israel.)

Winter7

occam's comic said...

Locum, Locum, Locum,

Your understanding of how homosexual acts have been viewed by Abrahamic religions over the centuries is about as fact filled as your understanding of climate change.

And why would consensual pleasurable activities between adults of the same sex be morally equivalent to murder?



Maybe imagining gay sex as evil makes it a bit hotter for you?
Rest assured you can find that
Big, muscular, manly man, all clad in leather to remind you what a bad boy you are.

And I really hope you find him, you will be much happier than you appear to be now.

reformed tourist said...

Donzelion -

One more thing. You stated (with regard to TPP):

"More problematic - but bear in mind, American laborers "win" more in trade the more widely legal norms are honored; where norms are flagrantly violated, labor loses and rentiers (feudalists) win. Immediately after NAFTA, far from a 'sucking sound of American jobs moving to Mexico' - America had the first extended uptick in real wages, low unemployment and protracted real growth for the first time in decades. After China joined the WTO, that reversed dramatically. That, to me, better accounts for what effects should have been expected (labor, like many others, would think I'm an idiot - as they thought of Obama...I may be, he was not)."

I can agree with much of that. However, the primary reason Labor (and some consumer advocacy groups) finds TPP problematic or worse is the fact that disputes are limited to resolution by closely-held arbitration without recourse. One of the major issues my industry and profession is faced with is international labor arbitrage - there is a great sucking chest wound in the "body economic and politic" regarding international labor agreements. The conventional wisdom is that a rising tide floats all boats. Unfortunately, the tide is glacially slow and reaches a lesser point on the shore when it comes to wages and worker protections as opposed to capital rewards and indemnification.

donzelion said...

Gerold: LOL, yep, I split hairs regularly. My point was about control: SK had a series of authoritarian leaders up through at least 1980. The growth was less along 'Western models' than along fairly typical 'crony capitalism' models typified elsewhere, though by the '70s, as the growth accelerated, the role of civil society grew, and the chaebols themselves grew (contrast with Japanese zaibatsu). Crony capitalism and authoritarianism may be better than communism, but they're nowhere near as effective as 'flatter/freer' capitalism. Only by ceasing to be 'authoritarian' clients could SK grow to prosper to where they are today.

NK developed by playing its two larger neighbors against each other - Russia, for most of that period, was far more powerful than China by any measure of strength, but either were enough to swallow up NK. The bulk of the air force that defended NK was ultimately Soviet (MiG-15s); the Chinese sent in human waves and suffered heavy casualties, but it was the air war that made the difference. NK tried to split the difference while embracing a specifically nationalist intent.

"The putative "philosophy" of Juche guiding NK development is a miniature version of Maoist self-sufficiency, collectivism, and totalitarian control."
Indeed, and though few noted it at the time, the implication should have been obvious: China refuses to be a Russian client - China developed nukes to prove conclusively that they were not a Russian client. That is the standard interpretation of a country obtaining nukes, and one that recurs everywhere else that nukes were identified as a major natl secty policy.

But the better guide is to look at who the advisers were, who did the exercises or other activities, how the trade ties evolved (and for which products), and a host of other factors. China began turning away from Mao's approach by the '80s, and their trajectory has followed S. Korea's far more than NK did. Again, massive divergence in structure, conduct, emphasis, and outcome implies non-coordinated policy.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Donald Trump could seduce the leader of North Korea; to convince him to convert North Korea into Las Vegas from the east.
The leader of North Korea is emotionally fickle. Donald Trump could easily seduce Kim Jong-un. For Donald, that matter would be child's play. I'm sure the trick would work. North Korea would become a permanent partner of Donald Trump, with which peace between the United States and North Korea would be assured. (And Donald could find true love by Kim Jong-un.) 8)

Winter7

Anonymous said...

There goes another theory about the origin of the universe. And again I do not agree.
(the multiverse if it is part of my personal theory, but my theory is different)

This is the link:

https://phys.org/news/2018-05-multiversestephen-hawking-theory-big.html

Anonymous said...

(Other time forget to sign the subject of the multiverse)

Winter7

David Brin said...

Okay, wild and woolly - and sometimes elevated - discussion.

Now

onward

onward

locumranch said...



Occam, Occam, Occam,

You speak with the tongue of a child.

Your understanding of how sinful acts have been viewed by Abrahamic religions over the centuries is about as fact filled as your understanding of the 10 Commandments, a document that morally equates infidelity, stealing, coveting & bearing false witness with the crime of murder.

And, frankly sirrah, I find your politically-motivated use of homophobic slurs extremely offensive & unenlightened.

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, that you would assume my gender (and/or orientation), and I demand that you use the gender & orientation neutral phrase 'Your Glorious Majesty' to refer to me in all future discussions.

How dare bigots like you take offence when other liberated adults engage in the consensual pleasurable activities of donning white sheets, burning crosses & doing the funny walk?

Over a hundred years ago, Robert Service summed up the insidious nature of your morally relativistic perspective in "The Woman and the Angel", and now your 'everything is permitted' chickens have come home to roost:

Then sweetly she mocked his scruples, and softly she him beguiled:
"You, who are verily man among men, speak with the tongue of a child.
We have outlived the old standards; we have burst, like an over-tight thong,
The ancient, outworn, Puritanic traditions of Right and Wrong."

Then the Master feared for His angel, and called him again to His side,
For oh, the woman was wondrous, and oh, the angel was tried!
And deep in his hell sang the Devil, and this was the strain of his song:
"The ancient, outworn, Puritanic traditions of Right and Wrong."



Best
____

Excellent idea about North Korea, Winter7, with a few casinos & brothels it could supplant Macau as the the new 'Sin City' of the east, its motto being "North Korea: The place where every inconceivable sin is permitted".

occam's comic said...

Locum
sounds like cosplaying Nazi soldiers is your preferred fetish in gay sex.

That is pretty edgy and helps explain why you sound so lonely.

But keep trying to find your match.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

However, the primary reason Labor (and some consumer advocacy groups) finds TPP problematic or worse is the fact that disputes are limited to resolution by closely-held arbitration without recourse.


That was always my discomfort with TPP. My feeling had nothing to do with whether jobs were created or destroyed, or the effect on wages and prices. It was the rights and privileges awarded corporations, essentially eschewing justice, responsibility, and good citizenship in favor of a First And Only Law requiring maximization of profit for an entire trading bloc.

LarryHart said...

Sorry, Dr Brin, just now saw the...

onward

onward!

donzelion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I would recommend reading Bad Samaritans by Ha-Joon Chang for a better understanding of how South Korea managed its development. The author is a South Korean economist who lived through it, so I suspect knows more than anyone here. The traditional story of free trade and economic freedom still taught here in Economics 101 turn out to be less than factual…

His book 23 Things They Don't Tell You About Capitalism is also very good — a fact-driven takedown of neoliberal economics.